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32 James Sprunt Historical Monograph 

An effort was made by the Kehukey Association to estab- 
lish fellowship between the two parties, but the Separatists 
refused, complaining- that the Regulars were not strict enougl 
in receiving experiences — that the Regulars baptized manj 
before they believed — that they indulged their members it 
superfluity of dress — but chiefly because they held persons ir 
fellowship, who were baptized in unbelief. These were, il 
was claimed in reality never baptized at all. 

These doctrines brought about a division in the churches 
Some were gathered by the Free Will Baptists, whose custom 
was to baptize any who were willing, whether they had 
experience of grace or not. 

In October 1775 when the Kehukry Regular Baptist Asso- 
ciation held their meeting at the. Falls of Tar River, a fierce 
discussion of these questions was had, the result being s 
division in the Association. 

In 1786 the two Societies united on the basis (1) that bap- 
tism of unbelievers is not valid. (2) Every church member 
to be sole judge whether he is baptized in unbelief. (3) Ever} 
minister ma}- baptize such as desire, being scrupulous aboui 
their former baptism. In 1790 owing to the great increase it 
the number of churches, there being 61 with a membership ol 
5,017, and also the distance of some from the centre of the 
Association, there was a friendly division, 42 churches ir 
North Carolina retaining the name of the Kehuke}- Associa- 
tion and the 19 churches in Virginia calling themselves the 
Virginia Portsmouth Association. Means were provided foi 
keeping by interchange of delegates friendly intercourse with 
each other. 

10 In the early years of his office Governor Martin endeav- 
ored to ingratiate himself with the people of the province. 
Being the servant of King George it was inevitable however 
that the harmony should be disrupted. Probably every man 
who voted for this friendly letter became his political enemy. 
Tin- clerk of the Association was, as has been mentioned, a 
member of the war Congresses and General Assemblies. 

11 There were at this time and afterwards vigorous prosely- 
ting efforts made by the Universalists. A challenge for a 
joint discussion was made by one of their preachers to Elder 
Joshua Lawrence, a Baptist of great talent and force of char- 
acter. The bulk of the hearers thought that Lawrence had 
the best of the argument, but admitted that his opponent was 
gifted with oratorical power. 



THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA. 




James Sprunt Historical Monograph 

No, 6, 




of a Geological Tour by Dr. Elisha Mitchell in 
1827 and 1828 with Introduction and Notes 
by Dr. Kemp P. Battle, LL.D. 



s 



1905. 



THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA. 



James Sprunt Historical Monograph 



No. 6* 







Diary of a Geological Tour by Dr. Elisha Mitchell in 

1827 and 1828 with Introduction and Notes 

by Dr. Kemp P Battle, LLD. 






CHAPEL HILL 

PUBLISHED BY THE UNIVERSITY 

1905 



THE UNIVERSITY PRESS 
CHAPEL HILL 



INTRODUCTION. 

Statesville, N. C, Nov. 20, 1903. 
Hon. Kemp P. Battle. 

Dear Sir: — At the request of my aunt, Miss Margaret Mitch- 
ell, I write a note to accompany a package of old letters, sent 
by this mail. 

In looking - over some hundreds of old family letters, these 
records of Grandfather Mitchell's earlier tours in Western 
N. C. seemed, perhaps, to have some value for the Historical 
Society. They are written with care and method, and are as 
he says, of the nature of a diary, in the vacations of 1827 and 
1828, and, some, later, giving daily account of travels over 
various counties, what mines he looked into, what minerals 
and geological features he saw, the kind of lands he passed 
over, and the people he met. If they prove to be of any use, 
please accept; if not, destroy them. If they reach you, please 
acknowledge to Miss Mitchell, at this place. 

She heard of the death of her old playmate, and long ti un- 
friend, S. F. Phillips. Another break in the band of Mitch- 
ells and Phillipses. Four left, Mrs. Ashe, 1 Miss Margaret, 
Mrs. Spencer, and Mrs. Laura Phillips. Mrs. Ashe is in 
the feeblest health, 81 years old. Miss M. enjoys good health 
but is slowly losing her sight, from cataract. 

Respectfully, 

Mrs. W. H. Coit. 

The foregoing letter by a granddaughter of Dr. Mitchell 
explains the character of the letters now published as No. 6 
in the James Sprunt Monograph Series. It is deemed proper 
to prefix a short memoir of their author. 

Elisha Mitchell was born in Washington, Connecticut, 
August 19, 1793. His father, Abner by name, was a farmer. 
His mother was Phoebe Eliot, a descendant of the "Apostle 

iMiss Margaret Mitchell and Mrs. Mary Ashe have since died. 



4 James. Sprunt Historical Monograph. 

to the Indians," John Eliot. His grandfather's father, Rev. 
Jared Eliot, was eminent in science, and received a medal 
from the Royal Society of London for a discovery in the 
manufacture of iron. He graduated at Yale College in 1813, 
among the highest in scholarship. Among his classmates were 
Senator George E. Badger, Dr. Denison Olmstead, Judge 
James Longstreet and Thomas P. Devereux, Esq. After teach- 
ing in schools for a year or two he became a Tutor in Yale 
College and in 1817 on the recommendation of Rev. Mr. Dwight 
the Chaplain to the U. S. Senate and of Judge Wm. Gaston, 
then member of Congress, he was elected Professor of Mathe- 
matics in the University of North Carolina. In 1825 at his 
own request he was transferred to the chair of Chemistry, 
Geology and Mineralogy, which he held for thirty-two years. 
He was twice Chairman of the Faculty, virtual President of 
the University — during President Caldwell's visit to Europe 
in 1824, and after his death on January 25, 1835, until the 
coming of President Swain, January 1st, 1836. Before leaving 
Connecticut he obtained license to preach in the Congrega- 
tional Church but in 1821 was ordained a minister of the 
Presbyterian Church by the Presbytery of Orange, North 
Carolina. 

The General Assembly in 1822 appropriated $250 a year for 
a Geological and Agricultural Survey of the State and in 1826 
continued the appropriation for one year longer. Prof. Olm- 
stead, and on- his resignation in 1825, Dr. Mitchell was selected 
to do the work. A report was made and printed, Parts I and 
II by Olmstead, Part III by Mitchell. In 1829 the latter 
made another short report. He published also a thin text- 
book called "Elements of Geology with an outline of the Geo- 
logy of North Carolina." A paper on the "Character and 
Origin of the Low Country of North Carolina," is in the Jour- 
nal of Science for 1828. He wrote much for newspapers and 
for Scientific Journals. Among other pamphlet publications 
are two sermons with notes, called "The Other Leaf of the 
Book of Nature and the Word of God," giving cogent argu- 



Sketch of Dr. MitchclVs Ltfe. 5 

merits against the Abolitionists on the Slavery question. The 

pamphlet is 74 pages long- and is dated IQ4.S. 

Dr. Mitchell read so extensively in many directions as to 
acquire the reputation of being possessed of universal know- 
ledge. He had a large brain and might have been among the 
great men of the world, if he had .confined himself to his 
specialty. 

His great self-reliance caused his death. He claimed to 
have visited the highest peak of the Black Mountains. Gen- 
eral Thomas L. Clingman contended that he himself was the 
first discoverer and endeavored to have it called Mount Cling- 
man. After a long controversy in the newspapers, Dr. Mitch- 
ell determined to ascertain the height by the spirit level, as 
he had formerly done by the barometer. On the 27th of June, 
1857, leaving the engineering party, he endeavored to ascend 
the mountain alone and go down on the Yancey side, in order 
to visit one or more of his former guides. Being detained by 
a thunderstorm it was late in the afternoon when he began to 
descend a fork of Caney river. By the side of a forty-foot 
precipice he slipped and fell into a deep pool below. His bodv 
was not found until the eighth of July. He was buried in 
Asheville, but the next year his family allowed his bodv to be 
buried on Mount Mitchell. 

For years Dr. Mitchell was one of the most conspicuous 
men in the state. As a teacher he was most interesting, 
abounding in illustrations, often humorous, which illuminated 
the subject. As a preacher he was able and logical but lack- 
ing in grace of delivery. As a disciplinarian he was active in 
detection and prevention, but mild in punishment. As a 
neighbor he was boundless in charity, ready with purse and 
wise counsels to aid all w T ho needed help. 

His children were four daughters and a son. The son, 
Charles, a physician, died in Mississippi without issue. His 
daughter Eliza, married to Richard I. Grant, a citizen of 
Texas, likewise left no children. His daughter Mary mar- 
ried Captain Richard J. Ashe, of the Bethel regiment, a citi- 



6 James Sfirunt Historical Monograph. 

; 

zen of Chapel Hill and late of California, left children and i 
grandchildren, as did his daughter Ellen, who married Dr, 
John J. Summerell, of Salisbury. Margaret did not marry. 

The letters, while containing allusions of a personal and 
family nature, were evidently intended to be material for a 
report or an article for a scientific journal. 

It is probable that the distress following the Panic of 1825 
caused the General Assembly to discontinue the Geological 
Survey. 

In annotating I have not deemed it necessary to notice men 
about whom nothing is known except what is mentioned in 
the text. If any facts of importance are not brought out it is 
because I was unable by correspondence to discover them. 
Owing to the high rates of postage Dr. Mitchell's penman- 
ship is extremely fine, sometimes almost illegible, and it is 
possible that I may have been unable to decipher correctly 
some words. 

I acknowledge my indebtedness to the courtesy and intelli- 
gent enquiries of Hon John S. Henderson, of Salisbury, Hon. 
C. J. Cowles, of Wilkesboro, Dr. Wm. T. Whitsett, of Whit- 
sett, Hon. Alfred M. Scales, of Greensboro, Miss Adelaide 
L. Fries, of Salem, Prof. Alexander Graham, of Charlotte, 
Messrs. Finley and Hendren, of Wilkesboro, Alfred Nixon, 
Esq., of Lincolnton, Thomas C. Bowie, Esq., of Jefferson, R. A. 
Nunn, Esq., of Newbern, H. A. Daniels, Esq., of Goldsboro, 
Dr. Richard H. Lewis, of Kinston, and Mr. J. R. Lewellyn, 
of Dobson. 

Kemp P. Battle. 



DIARY. 

Newbern, Dec. 28th. 1827. 
My Dear Maria: 

I received today from the post-master your very welcome 
letter— "and having - this evening- no other means at hand for 
killing the time have concluded to prepare a few lines in 
reply." The words included in the commas are such as 
according to the general language of mankind in relation to 
the state of feeling subsisting between man and wife I ought 
to address to you. After writing them down however I can- 
not let them stand without connecting with them an assur- 
ance that however it may be with others there is at least one 
husband who some eight years after marriage is fool enough 
to love his wife tenderly and well. I sympathize with Mr. 
Phillips and trust that you will pass the vacation without 
encountering those evils which Millee Slrowd was threatened 
with. In Raleigh I met with little or nothing to interest me. 
The Geological Survey dies a natural death at the end of this 
year. There is no one who takes any interest in the business, 
nor, in the present state of the Treasury, did I find there was 
any the least prospect of succeeding in any application to the 
legislature and I therefore gave it up at once. I sent you 25 
dollars by Dr. Caldwell — at least it was to be paid into his 
hands by Mr. Devereaux for you. This you will pay into the 
hands of Mr. Cheek or at least sixteen dollars of it, if he gives 
up the paper I gave to Mr. Somebody Mi . Lloyd for corn, 
but not ehe. 

We left Raleigh on Friday about noon and rode to Smith- 
field having Mr. Devereaux' in company some of the wa3\ We 
put up together at Rice's and passed a pleasant evening. The 

'Mr. John Devereaux, merchant of Newbern, father of Thomas P. 
Devereaux, who was a Reporter of the Supreme Oourt, and a wealthy 
planter on the Roanoke. 



S James Sprunt Historical Monograph. 

next day proving- rainy Mr. Andrews 1 took the stage for New- 
bern and left me to trudge along in the mud by myself. I 
rode down to Bass's 2 ferry and paddled about the river a while 
in an old crazy canoe to see the limestone about the mouth of 
falling creek and then passed on to Waynesboro and put up 
at Isaac Hills, — found there a young Lawyer from Orange 
who knew me and went with me to see Mrs. Andrews — the 
ci-divant Miss Gunn who was married in the meeting house 
in Washington the summer you were there — she lives just on 
the bank of the Neuse. On Sunday collected a little congre- 
gation and held forth to them at the tavern. Drs. Williams 
and Tippoo Henderson 3 and Morris called upon me. And of 
them all I liked Dr. Williams the least. Took my tea and 
spent the evening at Dr. Andrews/ Monday morning crossed 
the Neuse and got my breakfast at Mr. Griswolds 5 where I 
spent some time in examining the limestone on the bank. 
Griswold is a Yankee boy who came from Rocky Hill to Car- 
olina as he married a girl of some property — failed — and now 
lives in rather humble style in Wa}ne. He does not appear 
to be efficient and I doubt his wife regrets her having married 
a Yankee; rode down to the river and put up at Stephen 
Herrings in Lenoir — a hearty droll old cock who told me how 
extravagant the storm had been about Wilmington and how 

lEthan A. Andrews, Professor of Ancient Languages in U. of N.C., 
1822 to 1828. He afterward taught in New England and was author of 
valuable classical school books. 

2Name extinct Andrew Bass in 1784 gave three acres in Waynesboro 
for a court house, &c. He doubtless gave the name to the ferry — Falling 
Creek is still so called. , 

^Tippoo Saib Henderson was a son of Major Pleasant Henderson, of 
Chapel Hill. He graduated at the University of North Carolina in 1814. 

4Dr. Samuel Andrews kept a tavern at Waynesboro for many years. 
One son. Rev. S G. Andrews, was a colonel in the O. S. A.; another, 
George P. Andrews, was a colonel in the U. S. Army; a third, Rev. F. 
John Andrews, was a gifted Methodist preacher; and a fourth is a local 
Methodist preacher. 

SJames Griswold, long clerk and master in equity for Wayne county. 



Dr. Mitchell's Diary. 9 

fortunate the Messrs. Whitfield 1 had been about marrying, 
each of them having buried 3 or 4 wives. Tuesday rode 
through a desolate country — the western part of Jones — 
entered Onslow where the appearances improved — crossed the 
rich lands of that county and put up at old Kit Dudley's 2 on 
the east side of New River at the head of Navigation 5 or 6 
miles from the court house N. East. A violent Jackson man. 
Deist, very rich, offensive and talkative. Mrs. Hill his daugh- 
ter was there and agreeable. The old fellow entertained me 
hospitably but I had some difficulty in maintaining my inde- 
pendence without quarrelling with him. I fear indeed I 
hardlv did my duty to him so far as religion is concerned but 
I was restrained by the circumstance of his being apparently 
petulant thro the effect of a recent illness. 

Wednesday, had a stroll over the plantation before break- 
fast, and after breakfast then my horse was to be got ready, 
found that the fellow apprehending I had not done my busi- 
ness faithfully had gone on an exploring expedition so that I 
did not start till it was late. Rode down to Col. Dulanys 3 or 
rather to his son in law's on New River for the Col. a very 
worthy man, abides with his daughter— got my dinner 
— rode out to see New River and then passed down to 
Swansboro at the mouth of White Oak on the sound — a village 
of 4 tolerable houses and some smaller ones. I expected to 

iTwo Whitfields lived near Waynesboro, Samuel and William. Samuel 
was father of the first wife of Mr. E. B. Borden. William moved to 
Mexico and owned a large coffee plantation. 

The removal of the county seat from Waynesboro to Goldsboro was 
authorized by Act of the General Assembly. The exodus of people 
and houses was from 1837 to 1854. Mr. Richard Washington was 
the last inhabitant of Waynesboro. Flat boats and small steamers plied 
between it and Newborn. 

20hristopher Dudley, seven times Senator from Onslow, father of 
Edward B. Dudley, Representative in Congress 1835 — , and Governor 
1836- '40 — the first elected by the people. 

3Col. Daniel B. Dulany, Representative in the General Assembly, 1820- 
1821 and 1822. 



10 James S f runt Historical Monagraph. 

stay with Mr. Ferrand 1 who is the principal man of the place' 
but, observing - that he had company, rode down to Thompsons' 
— a tolerable house in appearance, where, whilst the yankee 
landlord and his Carolina wife and sister set before me an in- 
different supper and breakfast, he congratulated me in sound- 
ing terms on the escape I had made in not going to Onslow 
Court house where I should have had another fare. 

Thursday. I intended to cross White Oak and proceed to 
Beaufort but, considering that I should have nothing to pass 
over during the day but uninteresting sands, and that the 
country from Beaufort up would possess as little interesting, 
I turned my horse for Newbern. Country flat and barren till 
I came near Trent River. Saw slate rock in the bed of White j 
Oak when I crossed it and also in two or three places near the 
Trent and arrived here after dark. Friday, proposed to go ', 
back into Jones County to examine the shells on Durant 
Hatch's" plantation but finally gave up the plan and concluded 
to stay in Newbern till Monday next. Have been today stroll- 
ing about town — have looked up some books for the girls, 
dined with Mrs Shepard 3 — called upon Mrs. Brown 4 this even- 
ing. She is not in the least altered that I can see, has now a 
most beautiful little boy on hand. On Monday D. V. we 

i\Vm. P. Ferrand, Representative in the General Assembly, 1826. 

2Durant Hatch was State Senator fifteen terms; also a Trustee of the 
University. Shell rock is still obtained from his plantation, which is now 
mostly owned by Mr. James A. Jones of Newbern. 

3Mrs Shepard, nee Blount, grand daughter of Sir Frederick Blount. 
She was widow of Wm. Shepard, a wealthy merchant, and grandmother, 
among others, of Gen. J. J. Pettigrew, Judge Henry R. Bryan, Judge 
Wm. S. Bryan, of the Supreme Court of Maryland, and Mrs. Mary S. 
Speight, a benefactor of of the University. 

•*Mrs. Silvester Brown. Their son. Silvester Tilman, was father of Judge 
Brown of the Supreme Court. The "beautiful little boy" turned out to be 
a very fine looking old man. He was a student of U. N. O. in 1841-'42. 
Mrs Brown's maiden name was Hannah Holladay, of a Green County 
family. She had another sou at the University l831-'35, who was a phy- 
sician. 



Dr. Mitchell's Diary. 11 

started for Washing-ton — I suppose at least that Mr. Andrews 
will be in company -pass up the Tar — -and so get home — about 
which same place I have a few things to say. It seems that a 
great deal of pork has been lost the whole country through. 
Mr. Barbee, and much more Mr. Robson, therefore must not 
bring his hogs till the weather is cool'. Cut them up immedi- 
ately and spread them. They are not to be salted till quite 
cold but when this is the case there should be as little delay as 
possible. If the Journal of Science comes and the extra sheets 
— retain all said sheets. I will distribute them myself instead 
of placing them at the disposal of the Board. 

I am pleased with the accounts from N. London and Wash- 
ington in regard to brother Elnathan though I have no great 
expectation that there will be any very favorable result. I 
hope he ma}* stay in N. London a while and make a trial. I 
hardly think you will hear from me again till I come home — 
perhaps you may. Messrs. Andrews and Treadwell 2 having 
been here some 4 or 5 days before me, have forestalled most of 
the civilities of the good people of the place. I called upon 
Mr. Stanly to-day. The stage waits. Adieu. 

Yours, 
E. Mitchell. 

The above is a lie. The stage did not wait but was off a 
mile when Mr. Andrews and I came down with our letters. 
My carry-all is ordered and we start for Washington. 

Thine, 

E. M. 

1T Jp to the Civil War families in towns bought hogs freshly slaughtered, 
cut them up and "cured" the hams, shoulders and sides for the year's con- 
sumption. Near the dwelling was the smoke-house in which they were 
exposed to thick smoke for many days. Much loss was sometimes had 
from rapid change of temperature from cold to heat. A warm winter is 
on record, in which hundreds of thousands of pounds of pork were de- 
stroyed. 

201iver Wolcott Treadwell, of Connecticut, graduate of U. N. O. 1826; 
Tutor, 1826-'9. "Mr. Andrews" is Prof Ethan A. Andrews, 



12 James Sf runt Historical Monograph. 

Hines's, 11 Miles West of Salem, 7 miles East of the Shallow j 
Ford or Huntsville, Wednesday Evening-, July, 1828. 

My Dear and Good Wife: 

I did intend to write a few lines for you last night at Greens- 
boro, but after rummaging- the trunk sometime, could find no 
quills for the very obvious reason that they were directly be- 
fore my eyes. I have two methods of keeping a journal to 
choose from. One, that of noting- down in my memorandum 
book whatever may occur worthy of observation; the other of 
introducing the same matter into my letter to you. My 
Epistles filled with Mineralogical and Geological details are in 
danger of becoming in this way so dull that you will care 
nothing about them. But what else shall I write about? Tis 
altogether out of the question — a man who has not yet been 
separated from his wife quite two days to fall to sighing and 
wooing as though he was now experiencing the first access of 
his maiden passion. 

My present trip, if matters hold as they are, is likely to 
prove in one respect more agreeable than those which have 
preceeded. The aspect of the country is delightful. People 
talk of fine prospects, and I believe I have an eye to distin- 
guish, and a soul to feel them. But, after all, there is no 
prospect like that of a country covered with luxuriant vegeta- 
tion, that is going to pour of its abundance into the granaries 
of its cultivator. The mind is carried forward to the peace, 
security, and happiness that are to result to the poor as well 
as to the rich, when heaven pours out its bounties with so un- 
sparing a hand. What a contrast between the appearance of 
the fields now and what they were two years ago. The wheat 
is gathered in and is therefore wanting to the unvarying land- 
scape which Levi' and I enjoyed together, but the oats still 
cover the fields, and it is difficult to persuade ones-self when 

iLevi must have been his horse's name. He was too independent to 
have a driver and I know of no one of that name likely to have been hi? 
companion. 



Dr. Mitchell's Diary. 13 

We see the Indian corn of so deep a green; its growth so vig- 
orous; shooting up towards the clear sky, and bathed in the 
balm}- air and the sunbeams — It is difficult to persuade one- 
self, that it is not positively happy. And I can hardty help 
congratulating the trees of the forest, as I ride along on the 
beautif ulness of the year under the idea that they prefer it such 
as it is to a dry and dusty summer. But the daylight is fad- 
ing, and I do not know whether Mrs. Hines will let me have a 
candle, and must therefore, improve the moments to make a 
few memoranda. The latter part of my ride to Breeses 1 was 
dark, but on the whole it was not disagreeable. Started early 
on Tuesday morning and rode 24 miles to Joseph Gibson's* to 
breakfast. The slate continued until I reached Judge Mur- 
phy's - , where it was gradually replaced by some half baked 
granite. Found Breccia a little before I got to the stone tav- 
ern, but scarce— Afterwards, 18 miles from Chapel Hill, one 
James Johnston has been digging a well which goes through 
a slate rock that is full of small crystals of pyrites. The slaty 
structure is much more found in many of the rocks of this 
region. The bank of the river at Murphy's mill is covered 
with grains of sand that have been brought down from the 
rocks miles above. From Judge Murphy's to where I entered 
the Hillsboro and Greensboro road near Kphraim Cooks there 
is little bit the imperfect granite. It produces rather a cold 
black, sticky soil. The road from Cook's to Greensboro I 
travelled last year. For a mile and a half from Cook's the 
rocks are slat}*; in one place in the right of the road there ap- 
peared to be granite imbedded in the slate. Along by Gib- 
son's there was imperfect slate again. Stopped at Gibson's. 
He married Rev'd Mr. Paisl) r 's sister. Went to see the mine. 

iThe name of Breese has disappeared from the neighborhood. Informa- 
tion about Gibson is given in note to another letter. 

2Archibald Debow Murphey. His plantation was on Big Alamance, 8 
miles south of Graham . On his insolvency it was sold and Chief Justice 
Thomas Ruffin became the purchaser. After the Oivil War he sold it and 
later it has been called the Curtis place. 



14 James Sprunt Historical Monograph. 

They have made an anthill of the whole enclosure on which 
the gold is found. The veins run every which way, but more 
especially to the N. East and S. West. There is abundance 
of Iron Pyrites— some carbonate of copper. The vein has a 
stratum (strasser, the workmen call it) of Magnesium slate on 
each side of it. The mine is worth visiting again. Ten miles 
from Greensboro, struck the granite again and rode on it all 
the way to that famous Metropolis. Put up at Mooring's, 
Miss Christie' not arrived, Professor Barr 1 then sick. After 
supper went up to see Mr. Paisly, found the family,— well one 
tolerable pretty daughter; Dr. Mebane* there. Observed in an 
inquiring way that he presumed Miss Hogg' would be a good 
instructress. A case for a casuist. I bore ample testimony 
to Miss Hogg's good qualities. A thunderstorm. After it 
was over, returned to Moorings with the intention of writing 
to you, but was disappointed by not finding the quills. Went 
to bed and dreamed that I had a quarrel with you. I forget 
what about. 

Wednesday — Rode to Salem, 28 miles to breakfast and din- 
ner. Route through a pleasant country, interesting in a 
geological point of view. Rock granite growing more crys- 
tallic as we approached Salem, and becoming decidedly so 
within 12 or 14 miles. Sometimes (rarely) schistose, present- 
ing something that is neither mica, talc slate nor gneiss. A 
good many hornblende rocks having gneiss structure or rather 
having the little crystals of hornblende, etc., approaching to 
parallelism and distributed through the whole rock. Got my 
dinner. Strolled about Salem till three, then got nry horse 
and rode to this place. Country rather sterile about 5'j 

'Dr. Paisly's school was prior to Caldwell Institute, Edgeworth Semi- 
nary and the Greensboro Female College. There was a family of Ho^gs, 
who lived at Chapel Hill prior to this There were three children, Chris- 
tie, Lydia and Gavin. Gavin was a prominent lawyer, father of Dr. 
Thomas D. Hogg, of Raloigh. Lydia married a Lindsay of Greensboro. 
"Miss Christie" was a teacher They were of very little kinship to Jaineg 
Hogg of Hillsboro — I know nothing of Professor Barr. 

~Dr. John A. Mebane, brother of Dr Paisly's wife. 



Dr. Mitchell's Diary. 15 

miles, then much better. Rolling- but fertile. At (> miles 
? and well defined gneiss; a little above very coarse 

gTanite. Rocks very few. Tis useless to traverse such a dis- 
trict in search of minerals. Many hornblende rocks like those 
described as occurring- between Greensboro and Salem. 
Within two miles of this place mica is abundant in scales as 
large as a Connecticut nine pence. 1 Farewell. 

Sales', 15 miles east of Wilkesboro, Thursday evening. 
I left Hines' early this morning and have just arrived here 
having met with little interesting or remarkable on the road. 
About 3>< miles before I reached the Shallow Ford 2 and of 
course near the Stokes and Surry line I struck a bed of soap- 
stone about a mile and a half across. It was preceded by a 
kind of Granite chlorite rock, giving a green color to the soil. 
Of this soap stone I know nothing as yet; it will require ex- 
amination hereafter. The passage of the shallow ford with 
the Pilot in full view at the distance of 15 or 20 miles, is most 
beautiful. After leaving the soap-stone there are some rocks 
discovering themselves in the sides of the hills near the river. 
They are gneiss and mica slate. After this there is nothing 
from which to discover the nature of the subjacent rock till 
we come near Hamptonville, 18 miles from the river where 
the rocks, gneissoid hornblende rock, are more abundantly 
granite and but little mica and approaching to gneiss are seen 
and continues to this place 11 miles farther with an interval 
where the mica becomes very predominant. The country tra- 
versed today is fertile but much less beautiful than that 
through which I passed yesterday. Something raw and coun- 
trified about it. Still I am coming in among the mountains, 
and the Blue Ridge is in full view from this place — a part of 
Ashe. The road has in general been remarkably level. Sales' 
is under a high steep hill cultivated to its summit. Hunts- 

1A little larger than a dime. 

2Through the Yadkin, on the road from Winston to Huntsville and 
Wilkesboro. 



16 James Sprunt Historical Monograph. 

i 
ville," I passed only one corner of, so I can't speak of it.! 

Hamptonville 1 has 7 or eight dwelling houses. Stopped for) 

dinner with John Wright, who was formerly sheriff of the \ 

county, and gave me some interesting information respecting c 

it. He is married and has no children. A very pretty mulat- . 

to boy stood by the table as I was eating my breakfast or din- E 

ner. A. sign in Hamptonville bore Cowles and Porter. I said 

at once that I could tell from what town in Connecticut those 

men came from. I was within one of it. Cowles 2 was from - 

Southington; Porter from Farmington. Cowles' grandfather 

and Mrs. Andrews's great-grandfather by his account were 

brothers. As a merchant here he is, I believe successful. 

Married in Connecticut; carried his wife on a year ago to see 

her friends, and she died there— are you not scared? Has 

another wife visiting in Iredell. Went down after dinner a 

mile to see the plantation of a certain Mr. Nixon, who had 

ridden with me from the Shallow Ford, to see if he had any 

chance for gold, and found he had none. I learned the secret 

of being a punctual correspondent when on a journey; it is to 

sit down at once as soon as one arrives at night, and write on 

ones trunk as I am doing now. Good night. 

Foot of the Blue Ridge at Mrs. Colberts, Friday Evening. 

I rode into Wilkesboro this morning. Tracing first, gra- 
nite, gneiss and then mica slate. Put up at Massey's Hotel. 
For some time could find nobody to get any information 

iHuntsville and Hamptonville now have each about 100 inhabitants. 

2Josiah Cowles came to this State in 1816 and first established himself in 
business at Kernersville, then at Healey's, finally at Hamptonville. He 
married first a Connecticut, Rebeccah Sandford, then a North Carolina 
lady, Nancy, daughter of Andrew Carson, a comrade of Daniel Boone, and 
uncle of Kit Garson. Hon. Calvin Josiah Cowles, President of the con- 
vention of 18G8, is a sou of the first, and State Senator Audrew 0., Mr. 
Miles M., and Colonel William H. H. Cowles, of the second. A son of 
Hon. Calvin J , Colonel Calvin D. Cowles, of the 5th U. S. Infantry is 
getting up a tree of the old Connecticut family. He and his brother, 
Lt. Col. Andrew D., were in the Spanish war. Porter's name was David S. 



Hr. Uttche.lV* Dtarv. 17 

from. At length bethought myself of Kev'd Abner Cray, who 
as I had seen in the papers has charge of the Academy here. 
Went out and found him inter umbros circumire, as Virgil 
says, that is, on the top of a hill half a mile from town, where 
a log academy has been built for him in the midst of the for- 
est. I of course complimented him on having a situation so 
classical — exactly such that Apollo and the Muses are repre- 
sented as loving to haunt; After leaving him, I went down 
to the sheriff's to get some information out of him, and as he 
had some iron Pyrites, I played Olmstead' with him; got out 
my blow-pipe and magnet and showed him how his supposed 
gold was unmagnetic before roasting to drive off the sulphur 
and magnetic after. Mr. Massey came in and I got acquaint- 
ed with him. Mr Gay called and took me up to Col. FinleyV 
to dinner. The Col. and his wife are the only two Presby- 
terians in Ashe. There is to be a ball at Massey's this even- 
ing. I had an invitation to attend, but having, as I believed, 
sufficiently apprised the people of my existence, came on to 
this place, 17 miles from Jefferson the celebrated seat of Jus- 
tice for Ashe. I crossed the Yadkin by fording, travelled 
over mica slate chiefly, crossed some impure plumbago at si.\ 

lProfessor Denison Olmstead, Professor of Natural Philosophy of Yale 
He left the University of N. 0. in 1825. 

2 Colonel, more properly Major John Finley, was sou of Michael Finley, 
of Adams Co., Penn , and nephew of Rev. Samuel Finley, D.D., Presi- 
dent of Princeton College, the latter being grandfather of Samuel Finley 
Breese Morse, inventor of the telegraph. His twin sister, Mary, was the 
mother of General Samuel Finley Patterson, once State Treasurer, father 
of the late Col. Rufus L. and Samuel L. Patterson, Commissioner of Agri- 
culture. Major Finley moved to Wilkesboro in 1805. In 1828 he was farm- 
er and merchant, copartner with Colonel Waugh, having branch stores at 
Jefferson and Lenoir. He died in 1865, leaving children and grandchild- 
ren. His oldest son, Augustus W. , married Martha Lenoir Gordon, sister 
of Gen. Jas. B Gordon and grand niece of General Wm. Lenoir. Their 
oldest son, J. E. Finley, is President of the Bank of North Wilkesboio, and 
the youngest, T. B. Finley, is a lawyer of the firm of Finley and Hendren. 
The laud underlying the town of North Wilkesboro once belonged to 
Chapman Gordon, grandfather of General John B. Gordon of Georgia. 



18 James Sprunt Historical Monograph. 

miles, at nine miles descended into the valley of Reddie's riv- \ 
er, and travelled by the side of it until quite near this. These \ 
four miles were very pleasant — the steep mountains were on . 
either hand — the river clear as crystal tumbled over its rocky 
bed, and there were fine fields of corn upon its banks. The • 
farms are small ant! here, according - to some men calling- them- \ 
selves philosophers, in retirement shut out from intercourse j 
with the world by the sides of these streams and hemmed in ■„ 
by these mountains — man may, if he will, be happy. But , 
they are less happy than we. \ 

It is not in seclusion that the human mind receives its full- I 
est development and that its enjoyment is most intense. In- - 
stead of caring to feel the fine passions that agitate the breast 
of the inhabitants of the city, they are placed on low and . 
grovelling and brutal objects. I doubt after all whether . 
there are many persons happier than ourselves. There are r 
doubtless times when our pride is mortified b} r an inability to 
exhibit as much style as we might desire, but it is not even- 
person — it is not every married pair that has the confidence 
we have in each others mutual affection — as well founded a • 
prospect of having all the necessaries and some of the luxur- 
ies and elegancies of life supplied to us. This Mrs. Colbert 
does not appear to be very old. and yet she has six sons and 
five daughters. 

Jefferson, Saturday Evening. 
Arrived at this place about noon in safety. Fox has not 
yet run away with me. Indeed, there seems more danger that 
the crows will run away with him. The poor old fellow is 
badly worsted. His back is very sore, and I shall leave himi 
here on Monday and hire a horse to ride about the country 
with. At Mrs. Col v. mis the fare was rather hard; no tea on 
coffee but excellent potatoes. I intended to start as soon as 
it should be light this morning, but the sun had already gild- 
ed the mountain tops. Poor Pox, it he is in the habit of 
swearing 1 , ami I hope he is not, must have cursed the negroi 
that brought him out this morning, and the white man who 



br. Mitchell's D/arv. \9 

drove him. 1 first clambered up the mountain and along and 
dreary clamber it was of five miles. Near the summit there 
is a very extensive prospect embracing - a wide circuit of the 
comparatively low, level country through which I had been 
traveling-, but there was nevertheless, notwithstanding the 
extensiveness of the prospect, something wanting. There 
was no water; there were no thriving towns and villages to be 
seen, inhabited by an industrious, frugal and virtuous grown 
population, and a body of youth preparing to supply with 
ability the plans which their fathers are shortly to leave. The 
rocks in the ascent of the ridge were chiefly mica slate, and 
granite of a grain, very white and frequently with abundance 
of mica. Seven miles from the top of the ridge after a mod- 
erate descent — the path apparently over mica slate almost exp- 
ensively — only two or three houses; I came to New river. 
Tis a beautiful stream, broad but not deep, clear and running 
its course among the mountains, which often over-hang its 
banks and overshadow its waters. About three miles from 
this place left the river. Passed an old Dunker' who was 
mending his mill-race. He evidently is not quite orthodox, 
poor man; for he shaves around his mouth where the beard 
would interfere with what he probably considers as amongst 
the more important duties of his life — those of kissing his 
wife and eating his dinner. I am put up at a certain Mr. 
Lai's— I beg his pardon, Mr. La's— no <>n looking upon the 
sign I rind his name is Faw. Jeffersontown has 6 or 8 houses 
-dwelling houses -rather shabby. Mr. Mitchell* is gone out 
to electioneer at a muster, seven miles according to one infor- 
mant; 12 to another. I thought at first of getting upon a 
horse and riding out, but finally gave it out under the idea 
that the people would be dispersing, if not dispersed, before I 
should arrive. Instead of doing that I ascended the highest 

1A religious sect, which had its origin in Germany: sometimes called 
Tankers; fr. tunken, to dip, on account of their mode of baptism. 

2 Anderson Mitchell, late tutor at U. N. C. Then a lawyer and Common-' 
tr in Legislature. He afterwards moved to Statesville and became a judge. 



20 James Sprunt Historical Monograph. 

of the mountains in the neighborhood along- with Mr. Faw, 
and a rugged ascent it was. Saw a good many plants that 
were new to me, dug a root of ginseng for you, a small one : 
with my own hands. The air being clear, the prospect was ' 
delightful. The Pilot could be distinguished clearl}-, proba- \ 
bly at the distance of near a hundred miles. It appeared to I 
be almost exactly east. The Grandfather, or the mountain I 
which we supposed to be the one bearing that name, bore S. I 
40 West. We had a clear view of the country lying down the ■ 
New River in Virginia, and also of the part of Surry, Wilkes, 
etc, lying near the Blue Ridge, for the point on which we c 
were standing was high enough to overlook the Blue Ridge, i 
Nearly the whole county of Ashe lay at our feet, the Merry- 
Anders' of the river could be traced as on a map. Some of 
the plantation in view also presented a noble appearance, but 
oh, what an ocean of mountains. That spoken of is called 
the Negro Mountain, the rocks of it are almost hornblende 
slate, or gneissoid hornblende rock. I have yet seen none of 
the rock which I supposed from the representation of McClure 
to underlie the whole county. I start on now today to ascer- 
tain if possible when the strata changes, and this leads me to 
speak of the future. I have been as good a correspondent as 
possible. This letter will leave here tomorrow morning be- 
fore it is light and will reach you, as I hope, on Thursday 
next. I assure you that all is well hitherto, and encourages 
the hope that it will continue so hereafter. But on Monday 
I shall probably start on horseback and not be near my writ- 
ing apparatus for a week, and then perhaps not under cir- 1 
cumstances that will permit me to use them. With what you, 
now receive therefore you must rest contented for some time,- 
perhaps till my return, though I will write if I can. I pro- 
pose as I have already mentioned to start on Monday and 
travel the northern or lower part of the county and be back to 
the upper part to be present at a muster next Saturday. The 
ruggedness of the country renders it necessary I should go on 

11. jooular way of writing "meauders," 



Dr. Mitchell" s Diary. 21 

horse-back. In about a fortnight 1 hope to pass over into 
Wilkes again and cruise about there and to be home again in 
five weeks from today. With regard to things at home, push 
the girls along in their learning — which I acknowledge you 
are ready to do. But becoming convinced, as I do, as I travel 
the country, of the importance of education, I cannot help feel- 
ing a degree of impatience to have that of my daughters ef- 
fected as rapidly as possible. Endeavor to make Sumner do 
his duty in the field. 

Tell Mr Hentz 1 I have collected two bugs for him, both, as 
I believe, are common at Chapel Hill, and that I hope to col- 
lect at the same rate all the time during the whole time of 
my absence, so that he shall have to be extremely obliged to 
me. Tell Messrs. Hooper and Phillips that having been two 
such [torn] as to come to Jeffersonton and not ascend the high 
mountains in the neighborhood, and enjoy the fine prospects, 
the best thing they can do in order to prevent themselves from 
becoming infamous in all after ages, is to mount their horses 
and make the same trip again; taking in the mountains. If 
you >\rite after the receipt of this direct to Wilkesboro, Wilkes 
Co. I have had some thoughts of writing an acrostic on a 
certain young lady, being allured thereto chiefly by the 
beauty of her name, Miss Peggy Baggy 2 , of Salem. I hope 
you will excuse me if I do. If an opportunity offers write to 

^Nicholas Marcellns Hentz, Professor of French and German in TJ. N. 
C. 1826-'31 ; immigrant from France; afterwards Principal of schools in Ohio, 
Alabama, and Florida; author of a valuable monograph on the 
Arachnidae. His wife, Mrs. Caroline Lee Hentz, of Massachusetts, 
wrote novels, popular in their day, the best being probably Aunt Patty's 
Scrap Bag. 

2The oldest inhabitant does not recall the name of Peggy Baggy. 
There were in 1828 four Bngge ladies in Salem, Mrs. Christine, wife of 
Charles F. Bagge (sometimes called "Daddy Baggy"), and three daughters, 
Antoinette Louisa, Reb^ cca Matilda and Lucinda Frederica. Neither of 
these is ordinarily changed into Peggy; Probably it was a childish nick- 
name 



; 



22 James Spruni Historical Mcmagraph. 

Williams and Fawe to send up whatever shall come to hand, 
or at least write and advise me of its arrival. 

From your Affectionate Husband. 

E. Mitchell. 
Mrs. Sybil' M. Mitchell. 

Jefferson. July <»th, 1828. Wedns. Morning. 

My Dear and Good Wife'. 

In my letter of Saturday evening last. I gave you an ac- 
count of my movements up to that time. After sealing this I 
letter I saw Mr. Mitchell. Sunday, I ought, perhaps, to have 
collected the people of this little village (there are but eight i 
families of them i. and preached them a sermon, but I did 
not. I read, talked, walked, and a man came to see me about 
minerals, whom I found it a difficulty to get clear of. 

Monday Morning. Started on horse-back with Mr. Mitchell 
t<> find where the western transition of Triassic succeeds to 
the primitive rocks of this place. Passed along the great 
western road, down Beaver Creek between the ends of Plum 
Top and Phoenix Mountain to the North fork of X. River, 
over gneisssoid. Hornblende rock and Hornblende slate, alto- , 
gether for about seven miles. Visited the forge" 8 miles from 
town. Rocks here show characteristic gneiss. Forge gets its ore 
from two places, one about 4 or 5 miles above King's Bank, 
the other a similar distance below. The former one poor, as 
I was told, but makes good iron, and is necessary to flux 
the latter. The latter highly magnetic and appears to con- 
sist of sulphuret. Forge makes 200 lbs per day, which 
Sells at Scents at the forge, but Sidney Maxwell' told me hd 
got it from the workmen at 3 and 4, and that he had had thet 

■ Dr. Mitchell often Rave jocular names to members of his family. 
Sybil was no part «>f his wife's name. 

-Forge long ago abandoned 

'Maxwell was one of the wealthiest men in the county, left many 
descendants. He lived at month of Richkill Oro«k 



°^r,; 



UJV/Wrn.1 



OP 

Dr. Mitchell's Diary. 23 

iron of Carter County delivered at 4: got our dinner at 
Johnstons' and at Maxwells struck the first rocks respecting 
which there could be any question that they were approach- 
ing to transition, Shining Argilite. That was at 12 miles 

but 2 miles further on at there was well 

characterised, gneiss. After this the rocks were not distinct- 
ly characterized, assumed a more earthy appearance and had 
a little clay slate mixed with them. Called upon Col. Gideon 
Lewis who told us of some interesting appearances at the 
Bull Ruffin 2 . Arrived at the top of the Stone mountain where 
a post indicated the Tennessee line, and had a pleasant view 
of the mountains of Carter county of Tennessee. Over the 
Tennessee side found rocks which are an imperfect granite 
and might be referred to the primitive with as much pro- 
priety as to the transition. In returning saw plent} 7 of the 
Magnetic ancient slate. Fell in with William Gray who 
lives at the last house on New River, 1%. miles from the top 
of Stone mountain, who told us the lead mine which lies un- 
der so much soil in this part of the country, is within a mile 
of his house. Agreed to stop and see it, and staved all night, 
climbed a high ridge and travelled, I should judge, two miles 
to the mine. Tis a small vein of Specular Oxide of Iron in 
a half baked granite rock. Found the same granitic rock 
elsewhere on the top of the ridge, and Gray told me they 
were going to cut a pair of millstones from it. Slept all night 
somewhat thicker than three in a bed. 

Tuesday Morning. A tremendous rain which cleared off 
when the sun was about two hours high, and we started. 
Visited the ore 3 Bank (King's,) which is on the side of Plum 
Top Mountain. The bed is in Hornblende Slate, the ore poor 
and in small quantity. 

Breakfasted at Maxwell's and arrived here about the middle 

1 Johnston was a farmer and miller. 

2Bull Ruffiin, said to be a distortion of Bellerophon. a spur of the Blnrk 
mountain, now known as Elk. 
3Not worked now. 



24 Jama Sprunl Iln/onemJ Monograph, 

of the afternoon. All the houses between here and Ten- 
nessee are log huts. The North Fork winds amongst the high 
steep mountains and along its banks on the little arable land 
there is, the inhabitants are settled. They depend a good 
deal upon their cattle which look well. They are fertile 
quite to their tops and though they are covered with timbers — 
large chestnuts, oaks, etc, afford a good deal of pasturage. 
They will afford much more when the timbers come to be- 
cut down. Started today on an excursion towards the Vir- 
ginia line. 

Jefferson, Friday Evening. 
It is waxing late but the dread of your wrath being more 
potent than the desire to sleep, I proceed to give you the rest 
of thesr idle and unprofitable days. Major Finley', of Wilkes, 
came on Tuesday evening, and as he is going on a visit into 
■a region which I wished to visit and offered me his company, 
1 waited till the morning was far advanced before starting. 
Rode up through the gap between the Phoenix and little 
Phoenix Mountains. Crossed the North Fork. Gneiss, at 
about a distance of about nine miles from town, where a 
change in the country seemed to commence say 5 miles from 
the Virginia line. Stopped at Timoth}- Perkins'* on Helton's 
Creek, where there was an army of maidens. I proposed 
pushing on up Helton but was advised to stay and get infor- 
mation at a Methodist meeting which was to be held close by 
at 12. It being the middle of the harvest, but few peo- 
ple attended, and if they had staid away it had, as it seems 
to me, been as well. After service a classmeeting. I staid 
and heard a reasonable amount of female screaming and vo- 
ciferation, returned to Perkins' determined some ores' for 
Isaac McNab, dined rode up Helton 2 miles to 4 William Per- 

ISee BOte <>n Ool, Kinley iu preceding letter. 

'Ancestor of a number of Perkinses on Helton (.'reek. All wealthy. 

: <No mines of valne on MeNab's land. 

■♦The Perkins a/e not only on Helton Cre«k but in Grayson Oo., Va 



Dr. Mitchell's Dairy. 25 

kins, then back and round to Stephen Perkins on little Helton 
within half a mile of the Virginia line. Found in the field two 
men from Wake cutting down the wheat. Steven Perkins' 
grandfather came ftom Connecticut. He is a shrewd, intel- 
ligent young man and appears fully sensibleof the disadvant- 
age his children would labor under for want of a good educa- 
tion. His wife, a wonderfully busy little woman told me that 
Diio boy and girl of them were twins, and that since their 
birth there had been three instances of the like amongst their 
cousins in tin- neighborhood. The country swarms with 
children. Was well bitten by the fleas at night. There are 
no ticks here but abundance of these their brethren. 

Thursday Morning. John Weaver' came in before I was up 
to have me determine some ore for him, and agreed to go with 
me to the White top, an exceedingly high mountain, 3 miles 
north of the, say Northwesternmost corner of N.Ca. of course 
in Virginia. Wont out to see Perkins' ore bank which is ex- 
tensive and then while breakfast was getting ready heard an 
amusing account of an old man who determined the locality 
of ores by the mineral rod, and by his own account is very 
busy in digging for gold and silver taken from the Whites by 
the Indians, and laid up in"subteranium chambers." Said he 
greased his boots with dead men's tallow, and is prevented 
from getting the treasure out not by the little spirit with head 
no bigger than his two thumbs who come to blow the candle 
out, but by the great old two horned devil himself. After 
breakfast wound over the hills to William Perkins, then up 
Helton 2Y2 miles along a new horse path and by an old plan- 
tation to John Weavers. He has a wonderfully romantic 
place by the side of the creek under the over-hanging rocks. 
He is a bachelor of 27. His sister keeps house for him. 
Another house appeared at the distance of two 
miles up the creek, and we were apprised of our 
approach by the rolling of drums which the boys keep to 

1 John Weaver was a Representative in the Legislature in 1823. The 
ore is not worked. 



2*> fames' Sprunt Historical Monograph. 

frighten away the cattle that are driven in here in great 
numbers from Washington county, and eat up the range. 
Being very wild the drum scares them so that they go heels 
over head down the sides of the mountain; and a 4 year old ox 
will clear a 2 year old ox at a single jump. Two or three miles 
more another house, and then a mile brought us to the top. 
Here were a few trees ( of Spruce I believe ) but most 
of the top is tine pasture land covered with white 
clover and cattle, and commanding an extensive pros- 
pect of the mountains of Carolina and of the rich 
country west upon Holston in Washington county, and look- 
ing from the height at which we stood like a garden separ- 
ated into its different compartments. This mountain is evi- 
dently in the transition formation. I found grey rocks and 
grey rock slate around its base. The summit rocks are rather 
flint)*, and I did not understand them well. But for the bleak- 
ness and cloudiness of the situation one does not see why 
there might not be a plantation on the very summit of the 
mountain. The soil is black, moist and fertile. A copious 
spring bursts out within a stones throw of the summit. Here 
the strawberries are just ripe, and I gathered and ate a num- 
ber. Saw a number of plants which were new to me, but had 
neither the time nor the means for examining them. The 
Grandfather mountain, as I supposed it to be, with a, craggy 
and irregular summit was seen at the south, and the other 
ridges of Burke and Buncombe farther west and apparently as 
high as the Grandfather. Arrived at Weaver's again about 
the middle of the afternoon, exceedingly fatigued having 
walked according to Weaver, 10 but as I suppose 12 miles in 
my great heavy boots. Mounted my horse and rode to the 
north of Helton 10 miles. ;im\ fording that stream, as I was 
told, for I did not undertake t<> count, .^2 times in the distance, 
and then down the North Fork to 'Col. Meredith Ballou's. 

• Meredith Ballou, a Frenchman, came to Ashe about A. D. 1800, anrt 
died in 1847, bought nearly all the valuable iron ore in the county. He 
was an influential man, a surveyor of note, and waa for a while County 



Dr. Mitchell's Diary. 27 

This ride was very pleasant. A craggy cliff occupied now one 
side, now the other side of the river, generall} 1, overhanging- the 
stream. The other side presented a narrow strip of low ground, 
fertile, sometimes in a state of nature, sometimes cultivated — 
the cultivated land extending- some distance up the hill side 
and sometimes an old field, but covered with clover, how dif- 
ferent from the old fields of Lower Carolina. The soil of 
Ashe at least on this side of New river is certainty fertile as 
is proved by the size of the trees that spring up from it. A 
ride in the deep valleys of such a country with the blue tops 
of mountains appearing everywhere, then around a stream as 
clear as crystal dashing over its rocky bed close by you and 
reminding you of its existence, at least by its murmur, and a 
cloudless sky over-head, in a summer evening- cannot be un- 
pleasant except that those whom one loves may not be present 
to partake of the enjoyment. And it at least affords one an 
opportunity to fall into a reverie and think about them. The 
object of this day's labor was to ascertain the coming in of 
the transition rocks which I had supposed before I left home 
to occupy the whole of Ashe county, and which I soon find to 
occupy only a diminutive part of it. Near the Blue Ridge, 
as I travelled, the rocks appeared to be chiefly mica slate, 
about here they are Horneblende slate and Gneissoid Horne- 
blende rocks. This is succeeded on the N. West by Gneiss 
proper and the gneiss gives place to an intermediate rock 
preparatory to the transition. The commencement of the 
change may be stated to occur at 9 miles north and 12 miles 

Surveyor. He left sons aud daughters, all of whom bad families. Among 
his sons was Napoleon Ballou to whom he deeded all his mineral interests 
a year before he died and Napoleon endeavored by will to entail his prop- 
erty, but the will was broken. There was also litigation over the purchase 
of his interests at a Sheriff's sale Many prominent lawyers were em- 
ployed on one side or the other of the various Ballou suits, including two 
concerning the will of Meredith Ballon. It is said that Napoleon once re- 
fused $50,000 cash for his interests. The old forge is not worked now and 
has not been for years. A grandson of the old Frenchman, Albert Lucien 
Ballou, was a law student of the University of N. O. in 1903. 



28 James Sprunt Historical Monograph. 

West from here as the road runs, but I found Grey wracke 
only at the foot of the White Top Mountain, and within 2^ 
miles of Stone Mountain in the ridge containing- the bed ore 
(in ditches). I did not find it at all on the road leading- to 
Perkin's. 

Col. Meredith Ballou, at whose house I put up on Thurs- 
day, is of French extraction, a native of Amherst County in 
Virg-inia. He owns a forge — is a busy, active little man 
still, though 61 years of age, and the father of eleven sons 
and two daughters by a wife 13 years 3-ounger than himself, 
and looks as if she might still bear a number of children more. 
Between the ages of his oldest and youngest daughter there 
is a difference of 30 years. Fell into a dispute with him 
about an ore of iron (the micaceous oxide) which he asserted 
to contain lead. He tells me the first forge erected in this 
country was built on Helton creek a little above where he 
lives about 20 years ago by one Tarbert. Shortly after an- 
other was built still higher on the same creek; 14 years ago; 
that on Little River and 4 or (> years ago that visited on Mon- 
day on the western road. Friday morning, rode down the 
river 3 or 4 miles to see his forge and the ore bank on Weaver's 
land, which has been taken by 'Zachariah Baker, the last 
year's representative from Ashe, for a silver mine from which 
he was to derive inexhaustible wealth. It proved to be a thin 
crust of Brown Hematite disseminated through a rock and in 
such small cpuantities that it can never be worth working. 
After dinner Ballou rode out with us two or three miles to 
see his ore banks which arc numerous and rich. Indeed, I 
judge the range of gneiss heretofore spoken of to be full of 
ore. Ballou inquired whether I was a professor of religion — 
said he was not himself, but of the two sects into which the 
country was divided is most inclined to the Baptist. He spoke 

'Zacharinh Baker waa a Representatire in the Legislature, 1826, 1827 
and \H2'.h He was also Sheriff. His description of a bad season, "we have 

no weather but variatable weather, which is the d 1 weather of all 

weathers," is still remembered. 



Pr. Mitchells Diary. $4 

of the Methodist camp meeting- held annually near Timothy 
Perkins' where I attended meeting - , said that at the last meet- 
ing two men, one of those a member of the Methodist church, 
were witnesses of the pranks of a distinguished preacher. He 
went into a hut in the dusk of the evening where there was a 
young woman, a sister in the Methodist communion. He 
threw one arm around her neck and put the other upon her 
bosom. She removed it and he replaced it. She removed it 
again and he replaced it again; then finding that he was ob- 
served he struck up a sort of Psalm "I wished to tr} 7 her faith. 
Halleujah praise the Lord." With this precious piece of scan- 
dal, I close my letter, observing only that I arrived here just 
at dark and have been eating, shaving and writing ever 
since. 

Saturday Morning. Started after an early breakfast for 
the settlement of the Three-Forks 23 miles S. West of this 
where there is to be a muster to-day, along with 'Phillips — 
not the celebrated Irish orator but a constable of the county 
of Ashe. Passed some good plantations within the first six 
miles, then entered upon a district of mica slate and Magne- 
sium rocks — Ridgy without being mountainous or picturesque- 
barren and uninhabited — this continued until I was within 4 
miles of the Three-Forks settlement where the gneissoid Horn- 
blende rock and good soil reappeared. Put up at 'Robert Sher- 
er's, a Baptist and a worthy and intelligent man, a native of 
the N. Western part of Orange. Saw and became acquainted 
with a number of people — Dr. Reaser of Tennesseee who 
brought me a number of specimens of ore — Mr. Calloway — 
Elijah Calloway 3 , Esq.; I beg his pardon, formerly a member 

iCaleb Phillips — killed by Federal bushwhackers near the close of the 
Civil war. 

2Robert Shearer was a prominent man of his day. Left many descen- 
dants. 

3Elijah Calloway was a representative in the Legislature six terms, 
1812-17 and Senator five times, 1818, 1819. 1821, 1823. 1824 His son, 
James Calloway was Representative 1828, 1829, 1830, 1831. This family 



30 fames Sprunt Historical Monograph. 

of the legislature from this county and having a son not yet 
21 a candidate. He is regarded here as a gentleman, and is a 
member of the Baptist church. He told me he and Dr.Caldwell 
were great friends, and that he was a great preacher — asked if 
he did not preach in the city of Lunnon, [London] and thought 
that he was a preacher there. Said he had always been a 
great friend of the University. Having obtained the leave of 
the candidates I explained in a stump speech to the people 
assembled the object of my visit to Ashe. Walked out to- 
wards night 3 miles to a spot on the west side of the S. 
Fork of North River on the lands of John Cook to see some 
asbestoid rocks. On my return found at Shearer's Mr. 2 Smith 
who was at Chapel Hill last winter, who proposed to me to 
start today for Watauga and ascend the Grandfather tomorrow 
but as I excused myself to him on account of tomorrow's be- 
ing Sunday, he stayed until I was ready — also a Mr. Earth- 
ing, son of Reverend Wm. Farthing of the Baptist Church in 
Wake county., who died last winter at his home at the foot of 
Stone Mauntain — also Mr. Shearer's pretty daughter and her 
husband, a goodnatured sort of a fellow, not half good 
enough for her. This Glen Fork settlement is about 23 miles 
from Jefferson and is a considerable body of good land. A 
good road runs across the mountain here passing through the 
'Deep Gap, and thence down within two or three miles of the 
Watauga river to the Tennessee line. A Baptist meeting 
house is only about 2 or 300 yards off at which by an appoint- 
ment given out on the muster ground I am to preach tomorrow. 
Sunday Morning. After breakfast as we were sitting in 
the Piazza, an old gander named Ell wood (I don't know how 
to spell his name.) called in with a keg in ;i bag in which he 

was of long continued influence John Calloway was one of the first 
Representatives and Senators In the early days also was Joseph and in 
more modern days Benjamin and B. O Calloway. 

-John C. Smith, of Cumberland county. 

8 Rev Wm. Farthing left many descendants, many of them preachers of 
local reputation 



Dr. kitchens 1)nu\. M 

had brought whiskey to sell at the muster yesterday. Found 
abundance of fault with Mr. 'Mitchell the candidate, and 
also with 'Baker the other candidate. When about to go he 
was asked to stay for preaching —"No, he had said yesterday he 
was not going- to hear him preach — no man never could attend 
to everything." I told him he seemed to be descended from 
Ishmael — his hand was against every man. I hoped that every 
man's hand is not against him. Smith tells me this same fel- 
low raised a report on the muster ground yesterday — that I 
received from the state 9,000 dollars for passing through and 
looking at the rocks. Preached at 12 to a considerably at- 
tentive congregation. After dinner rode down 10 
miles to Watauga. Smith purchased a bottle of brandy and 
put it in my saddlebags. Stopped at the distance of a mile at 
3 Hardin's (he is a candidate for a seat in the Senate. ) to avoid 
a shower of rain and again at Council's store to collect our 
company, which finally amounted to 7 — The two candidates, 
Mitchell and Calloway, Smith and Myself, Farthing, a person, 
name not known, and 4 Noah Mast, to whose father's on 
Watauga we are going. The prospect in some places where 
the chestnuts now in bloom grow upon rich grounds on the 
declivities of the mountains, and are covered with a most 
luxuriant foliage, is enchanting. Council's store was open, 
some were hunting, a waggon hauling plank; Mitchell and 
Calloway electioneered by the way, and, as I was riding on 
Sunday, with what propriety could I reprehend these things. 
And yet it seemed necessary, on Mr. Smith's account, that I 
should ride. Passed from the deep gap road about 3 miles to 

1 Anderson Mitchell, afterwards Judge. He was elected, was a Repre- 
sentative two years, then Senator. 

2See note above. 

sjohn Harden was elected. He had served previously in the lower 
House, was an influential man, was afterwards owner and operator of the 
Cranberry Iron Works. 

4The Masts, and Henry Holtsclaw were good citizens, and left 
families — among them merchants, farmers and stock raisers, all success' 
ful and reliable. Noah Mast was afterwards State Senator, 



>2 James Sprunt Historical Monograph. 

Mr. Mast's and observed a discontinuance in the gneissoid 
horneblende rocks at this point and a commencement of others 
which appeared to be in [torn] of the transition. The low 
grounds on the Watauga above the Stone Mountains are wide, 
tho' they cease at the mountains or a little above, and on these 
low grounds Mr. Mast (a German ) has a good plantation and 
a son settled both above and below him. Young Mast sent 
out for Henry Holtsclaw who agreed to accompany us to 
Grandfather tomorrow and then to go on with Mr. Smith to 
the old fields of Tow. We heard of a family in which was a 
young lady, apparently about 20, tolerably good looking, and 
who is the Grace or Goddess that Collin's speaks of in his ode 
to the Passions "with a bosom bare." There were two little 
children, the youngest of whom, Smith tells me, is the result 
of a 4, fox paw" [fauxpas] of Mademoiselles. She refused to 
tell who was its father, but his identity is well understood. I 
am told that when she found herself pregnant she asked him 
to marry her, telling him at the same time that if he did not 
take her then, but left her to bear the scandal alone, she never 
would have him — that he is willing to marry her now but can- 
not get her. Both the mother and the child seem to be treated 
with tenderness and affection by the family, and what is 
most strange her brother is said to be on the most inti- 
mate terms with his sister's seducer. The young 
woman appears to feel her situation. It appears at 
first sight very unreasonable that a trangression of this kind 
should be attended with such fatal consequences to the one 
party and, instead of being regarded as a disgrace, be some- 
times almost gloried in by the other. And yet I think it is 
partly by the appointment of the Creator himself, and there- 
fore, for good reasons, as well as by the custom and fashion 
of society, that it is so. Reference is evidently had in every- 
thing relating to these matters to the welfare of the children 
and to a provision for their sustenance and support. This 
demands affection on the part of both the parents. But in 
order that this should be strong and unswerving, it is needful 



Dr. Mitchell's Diary. 33 

that there be no uncertainty about the parentage of the child — 
that neither husband nor wife may be in danger of bestowing 
their affection upon the offspring of others. But on the part 
of the wife there can be no doubt. She can never be in dan- 
ger of nursing - her husband's illegitimate children for her 
own. The only security a husband has is found in the purity 
of his wife's character before her marriage— an assurance 
that he possesses her affection now and an experience of her 
veraeit}-. Hence, I am inclined to believe by the appointment 
of God, a man has a greater horror of sharing the person of 
the woman he loves with another man than a woman has of 
sharing with a woman, though the principle or feeling origin- 
lily thus influenced is doubtless strengthened by the institu- 
tions of society. And hence incontinence before marriage 
by diminishing the securitv the husband should have of the 
fidelity of his wife after marriage sinks her value so much iti 
the society of which she is a member, and is in fact a great - 
er crime in a woman than in a man. If it be said that it is 
still unreasonable that she should suffer so much more, the 
truth of the assertion may be denied for whilst men have 
many hardships to undergo in the held and other places to 
which she is not called— her education points very much to 
one of the great objects of her existence, the continuance of 
the species. Man is tempted in the affairs of life in a thous- 
and different ways. Nearly all her temptations have refer- 
ence to one thing — unswerving virtue in regard to this one 
thing, and therefore with her one principal point of morality 
and religion, and if she falls here she is taught to expect that 
her fall will be great; it is reasonable that it should be great. 
I do not mean all the while to excuse the hard-hearted and 
unfeeling indifference with which a man will for a brief trans- 
port of passion sacrifice the happiness of a fellow being for 
months and years, and then look with a cold and indifferent 
eye upon the ruin of which he is the author. I wish it to be 
stronglv emphasized upon my daughters that where a woman 



!s4 fames Spruni Historical Monograph. 

is concerned, no man is to be trusted — every man is half a 
demon. 

Monday Morning - . Foggy, cloudy and rainy; purchased a 
small bear skin from Mr. Mast. At nine proceeded a small 
distance up the creek to where one of the young Masts keeps 
bachelor's hall, when a bad rain coming on we stopped and I 
agreed for a tickler of balsam, for which I afterwards paid a 
dollar. Started soon after, though it still rained and our 
guide was rather unwilling to proceed, and indeed, we were 
thoroughly wet when w r e got two or three miles up to Robert 
Barnhill's, originally from Mecklenburg. In the neighbor- 
hood is a hunter who has two women living with him; to one 
of them he owes and to the other he gratuitously discharges 
the duties of a husband; one has 3 children, and the other one 
and another near at hand. 'Tis a terrible region for these 
irregularities. The Leather Stocking of these regions, andi 
whom we would have had as a pilot, but that he is in the 
woods, has a wife living on Sandy River in Kentucky, and, 
the children of that wife and another woman living with him 
here on the Watauga. Another hunter, has a wife living in* 
N. Ca., and supports or keeps the only daughter of a man 
who lives in Tennessee. In a rude hunter's state of society,. 
the women become schquaws, very prett}' ones, but schquaws 
notwithstanding. We had still 8 or 9 miles to go to the top 
of Grandfather. We passed on over one ridge after another, 
winding through the woods over logs and rocks, and through 
laurels, walking when we could not ride, passing some mount- 
ains and knobs with very indecent names, seeing only one. 
small deer which we did not kill, crossing tlu head of Linville 
river which Hows into the Catawba, and arrived at the foot of: 
Grandfather, where we were obliged to leave our horses,, 
about one o'clock. The Linville and Watauga head up under' 
the mountain, and from the place, where we took our dinner,, 
we could %t\ water from either, within two or three hundred; 
yards. < >i course we were on the summit ot the Blue Ridge. 
The ascent of the mountain is rough, thickety and disagre- 



Dr. Mitchell's Dairy. 35 

able. Steep, perpendicular cliffs in places but in general not 
very difficult. About half way up we met with a Fir-Balsam 
tree. It is sometimes a foot and a half in thickness and pretty 
tall. The balsam resides in small blisters or cavities in the 
substance of the bark which are cut out and the precious fluid 
passed into a vial. They say that the exudation obtained in 
the same way as common turpentine has not the same proper- 
ties — but I have my doubts. It is the panacea or universal 
remedv of the mountains -cures wounds, rheumatism, 'flux, et 
cetera. It grows quite to the top but it is stunted and smaller 
there, and along - with one other tree occupies exclusively the 
highest points. The summit of the mountain is moist and 
wet, producing carexes which I wished to but could not study. 
Holtsclaw had been often upon it but only in search of bears 
of which it is the favorite winter retreat. They retire to dens 
in the cliffs in December and come out in February, passing 
the time in sleep. This is time for the hunters to rind their 
retreats and take them out. They lose nothing of their fat- 
ness, and their flesh is thought to acquire additional delicacy; 
they have nothing in their bowels during their sleep — I write 
this at Jefferson, July 11, Friday. I leave today for the lower 
end of the county where I hope to go out to the Klkspur 
Gap on Saturday into Wilkes. 

I thank you for your letter. I may write again from Wilkes. 

Yours, E. Mitchell. 

Wilkesboro, July 20th. 1828. Sund. Eve. 
My Dear and Good Wife: 

In my last which leaves this tomorrow morning I informed 
you of all things whether good or ill that have befallen me 
down to Monday Evening the 14. when I am received in this 
place a second time and put up at Mr. Massey's where Messrs.* 

lOld name for dysentery. 

2R,ev. Wm. Hooper, Professor of Ancient Languages and Rev. James 
Phillips, Professor of Mathematics in the U. N. 0. Both were afterward* 
Doctors of Divinity. 



3b fames Spriuit Historical Monograph. 

Hooper and Phillips staid — to their great satisfaction last 
year. Wilkesboro lies near the Yadkin. The river makes 
something- of a bend and approaches the town. From the 
water's edge a steep hill rises suddenly and it is on the south 
side of this hill (sloping gradually Hhat the town is built. It 
contains 19 dwelling houses; a new courthouse and goal. 
Massey's is a pleasant place to stay at when he is at home. 
He is of a quaker family but was led astray by the bright 
black eyes of a Moabitish or Presbyterian damsel. He mar- 
ried out of the society and of course ceased to be connected 
with it. His wife is really pretty, but what astonishes me is 
that she has found it out. Found out the man Mr. McKenzie' 
who sent me the specimens from Wilkes a year or two ago— 
Originally a tailor secondly an officer in the army — lieutenant 
— and thirdly doctor and mineralogist. He lives a little out 
of town and supports his large family with some difficulty. 

Tuesday morning. Rode up the river to see Gen. Stokes and 
Col Wellborn. Their father-in-law Hugh Montgomery' owned 
one of the finest plantations on the river. They married sis- 
ters, and this plantation was divided among them. 3 Stokes 

'Dr. McKenzie owned Flint Knob lead and silver mine about 15 miles 
west of Wilkesboro, It is now owned by Col Allen Brown and Mr Sam- 
uel L. Patterson. Mr McKenzie mortgaged other land to raise money 
wherewith to operate his mine, but had little success. Hunters used to 
get lead here for tbeir rifles. 

2Hugh Montgomery lived at Salisbury; was the friend and champion of 
the Moravians, who owned large bodies of land where Wilkesboro and 
Moravian Falls are now located, and elsewhere. It was charged that they 
were not loyal during the Revolution, especially as their trustee, Frederick 
William von Marshall was out of the United States — Their lands were 
entered and claimed by others, and Montgomery caused suits to be brought 
lor them and alter long litigation won them. He had a large slice of the 
lauds tor Ins compensation The attorney lie employed had the odd name 
of B. Boot he Boot. He had two daughters who shared between them his 
estate. 

SGeueral Montfort Stokes, born 17fi0, in Halifax, Virginia, county, 
served in the navy under Commodore Decatur, was captured and had 
much suffering as a prisoner: after the war settled in Salisburv and was 



Dr. Mitchell* $ Diary. 37 

is considerably the oldest. They have not formerly agreed 
very well but are said to be on good terms now. "Wellborn is 
nearest to town — onty two miles off. Called on him. He 
offered me breakfast — whiskey and then feeding- of my horse, 
but I declined them all. Showed me some minerals and I 
went on to Gen Stokes' two miles farther. What Wellborn's 
real character is I cannot make out. He has been a member 
of the Baptist church and will now allow of no swearing about 
him. He left the church under the idea that he was unfit to 
remain in it. He seems to have a religious paroxysm. He is 
a candidate, a furious Jacksonite and a prompt bold man. At 
Gen Stokes' I was treated with great kindness. I used to 
wonder why he was so much put forward in the state but it 
now appears. He is a very pleasant man of good sense. His 
wife appears much younger than himself. He was born 20 or 
30 miles above Petersburg in Virginia and was a sailor in his 
youth. In his family he has been exceedingly unfortunate — 
perhaps this is not the proper word. He has been a great 
card player and is at present a great swearer himself so that 
we may conjecture what their education has been. In addi- 
tion to this I suspeci: some defect in the moral and physical 
constitution of the young men themselves. One, Hugh M. 

Clerk of the Superior Court; was then Principal Clerk of the Senate, and 
from 1815 to 1823 United States Senator and Representative in 1829 
and 1830. He was then elected Governor twice 1830 and 1831 President 
Jackson then appointed him Indian Agent in Arkansas where he resid< d 
until his death in 1842. His first wife was sister of Captain Henry Irwin, 
who fell at Germantown. They had a daughter who, after the death of 
her first husband, Hugh Chambers, married Wm. B. Lewis, of Nashville, 
Tenu., a warm friend and adviser of President Jackson, the head of the 
"Kitchen Cabinet." By his Montgomery wife he had five sons and five 
daughters His son, Montfort S. Stokes was a Major in the Mexican war 
and Colonel in our Civil war and was mortally wounded on the Chicka- 
hominy. Mr. C. V Hunt and children are the only descendants of Gover- 
nor Stokes. 

] Col. James Wellborn was often State Senator. He advocated ineffect- 
ually the construction by the state of a road from Beaufort to the mount- 
ains. 



38 James Sprunt Historical Monograph. 

was educated at Chapel Hill and is now a lawyer in Morgan- 
ton. He is said to possess respectable talents but is intemper- 
ate-. I was told of his refomation as I passed through 
Morganton last year. As we were conversing- freely about 
his children I told him .1 had understood that Hugh' had 
reformed. He said he had hoped so — had sent him on his cir- 
cuit with Judge Donnell with high expectations but on his re- 
turn he had staid at .Morganton instead of coming home and 
he well knew but feared to ask for what. Another 2 son is a 
midshipman in the navy and by the father's account will never 
be more than a midshipman, a third 3 is at West Point and I 
gathered from his father not succeeding very well, a 'fourth 
is at home. I told him I intended to give nry children the 
best education in my power and then if they did not succeed, 
not to permit it to trouble me — he said I could not help it — 
and I suppose he was right. He gave me some information 
respecting the running the line first by 5 Strother and Co. 
to painted rock and then by himself. Dr. Caldwell and others 
along tlu- great Smoky mountains. After dinner rode out to 

'Hngli Montgomery Stokes graduated at our University in 1811), in the 
class among others of 'Dr. Francis L. Hawks and Senator Willie P. Man- 
gum; was a Representative in the Legislature in 1819 — died early. The 
Judge was John R Donnell — first honor graduate at the U. N. O. in 1807. 

-David, according to Wheeler, was dismissed from the navy and entered 
the revenue marine service. 

ttThomas J. married on Wilkes county, and removed to Tennessee; did 
not graduate. 

i Mont ford Sidney Stokes was for five years a midshipman in the U. S. 
navy, resigned and settled in Wilkes, was a major in the Mexican and a 
Colonel in the Civil war. He was mortally wounded at the battle of the 
Chioahominy. 

5 The commissioners appointed by the aot of i?9t> were Colonel Joseph 
McDowell, of Quaker Meadows, David Vance, grandfather of Z. B. Vance, 
and Mnsseutf ine Matthews, speaker of the House. Strother, who made a 
map of the State, was an ;i.»sistaiit . Accordiug to the Act confirming their 
action the; located the tuu> to the Smoky — Under the Act of 1810 for con- 
tinuing the Location the Gkwernor was authorised to appoint the eomniis- 
piouers and their names do not appear in the printed laws. John Steele, 



Dr. Mitchell's Diary. 39 

see Michals Forge and Ore Bank; the Forg-e (not yet com- 
pleted) is the onl}* one in the count)*. The ore bank is 2 or 3 
miles off; the ore appears to be tolerably good though not of 
the first quality and has been manufactured into iron pretty 
extensively at Beard's Forge in Burke. There seems to be a 
series of beds of iron, one lying on this side of the Brushey 
Mountains, on one of the spurs of which Michals ore 
Bank is extending like everything else in this country from 
N. E. to S. West — ; returned to town — and took tea at Major 
Finley's where I saw 'Col. Patterson and his wife — grand- 
daughter of Gen. Lenoir. 

Wednesday Morning. The repairs of my wag'on not being 
yet completed I did not start till about eleven. In the mean- 
time walked out to see the Wilkesboro mineral spring. 'Tis 
only some water that oozes through some earth and leaves 
that has been brought down from the road, and that it con- 
tains perhaps a little iron has little to recommend it besides 
its dirty nauseous taste. Started at eleven with Dr. McKen- 
zie and passed up the river, found the rocks mostly Gneiss the 
whole day and indeed throughout this whole excursion; found 
iron on the road 6 miles from town in white flint rock. Near 
Millers when we crossed the river McKenzie told me there 
was a bank of Porcelain clay; I did not visit it. Passed 
Stonecyplus an old bachelor who they say knows where there 
is lead in the mountain near but will give no account of it. 
Left my waggon at Dyck Jones, and went on a couple 
of miles further to John Lipps and then up the creek a mile 
and a half further to see some black lead. Found a little in 
the granite rocks but none of any value. Was told by Lipps 

Montfort Stokes aud Robert Burton were appointed in 1818, and the next 
year General Thomas Love, General Montfort Stokes aud Colonel John 
Patten, to mark the boundary between North and South Carolina. Presi- 
dent Caldwell assisted as astronomer. 

iGeneral Samuel Finley Patterson , State Treasurer, 1835- '87; President 
Raleigh and Gaston Rail Road. State Senator, 1846- '50. His wife vrofi 
daughter of Colonel Edmond Jones, 



4(1 fames Sprunt Htstorical Monograph. 

of the garnet on the lands of Church, his father-in-law, 

who lives just under the Blue Ridge. Returned to Jones's 
and got an excellent cup of coffee. Anderson Mitchell and 
another Lapps came in with specimens chiefly from flat Knob 
amongst which I found rich characterized Sappare or Kyan- I 
ite. 

Thursday Morning Crossed over through a barren country 
to the river which we had left and then up the river to "Gen. 
Jones where we arrived about noon or a little after. It is not 
difficult to account for the deterioration of the " Range " of 
which people are continually complaining in this part of the 
country. Two causes operate in the production of this effect. 
1. Since the country has been cleared and plantations laid 
out it will not answer to burn the woods as formerly for fear 
of destroying the fences and the consequence is that the small 
undergrowth is nut destroyed as it used to be — the woods be- 
come thicker and not like an orchard as they are in the indian 
country and thus herbage of all kinds being shaded does not 
grow and flourish. 2. Of the different kinds of herbage those 
suited to the sustenance of cattle as the pea-vine and natural 
grasses are fast devoured and both become less vigorous in 
their growth and are prevented from going to seed whilst the 
contrary effect is produced upon the bitter unpalatable weeds. 
Thus our woods become thick also and shady and the little 
herbage they produce is not fitted to the sustenance of cattle. 
Passed Gen. Lenoir's- Old Fort Defiance) and stoppedat the 

'The Jones family oame from < 'uljiepper County, Virginia. There were 
five brothers, Oatlett, Thomas, George, Hugh and Edmund. Thomas and 
George lived in South Oarolina Edmund, known as General Edmund 
Jones, was often State Senator and Representative. He was father of 
Edmund W Jones, State Senator and Member of the Convention of 18(51, 
and grandfather of Edmund Jones, who was in the Confederate army, a 
Representative iii the Legislature and a Trustee of the University. 

n.r.ii Win Lenoir, Lieutenant in Rutherford's Expedition against 
the Cherokees; Captain at King's Mountain; 1st President of the Board of 
Trustees of 11 N C President ol the Senate, 1790- '94. Member of Con- 
stitutional Convention* of 1788 and 1789; Chairman of Conntv Court of 



Dr. Mitchell's Diary. 41 

house of his son-in-law Gen. Jones' to dinner. The Gen. out 
electioneering - . A man of wealth — has two sons one 3 at Hills- 
boro with Mr. Bingham and the younger with Mr. Gay. His 
daughters all married, two of them at table — one recently 
wedded to Lawyer Henry of Greenville district S. Co. origin- 
ally a Yankee? and a well enough man, the other — the young- 
est stole a march upon her parents and married her cousin 
Larkin Jones described to me by McKenzie as the smartest 
young man that has been raised in Wilkes. After his mar- 
riage was raised into favour and went on last winter to attend 
the medical lectures at Philadelphia and the agitation pro- 
duced by the sudden and unexpected return of her husband at 
night caused a miscarriage from which she is still feeble. 
After a thunderstorm, occurring whilst we were at dinner, 
was over, obtained a horse and rode accompanied by a son of 
Catlett, the General's brother, to Gidding's old place to see 
some ore said to be there — the distance 10 miles. For two or 
three miles the country was tolerably open but the hills after- 
wards closed in upon us and we wound our way beneath them 
beside the river bank and were finally obliged to cross one or 
two pretty considerable ridges in order to reach our place of 
destination. A ride of this kind to one accustomed to the 
monotonous sameness of the Low Country is pleasant and 
agreeable and would have been highly so to me but for a 

Wilkes. Major General of Militia. A street in Raleigh, a county 
and town are named in his honor. The plantation is now owned by 
Thomas B. Lenoir, a grandson over 80 years 

There was a fort in the forks of Yadkin called Waddell in honor of 
General Hugh Waddell. Probably the name was changed to Fort Defiance, 
but there may have been two. Erected against the Indians. 

iGen. Edmund Jones— see preceding note — The General was running 
for the Senate. Was beaten in 1828 by James Wellborn, but was success- 
ful two years afterward. 

2Cd1. Edward Walter Jones, at Bingham's and Rufus at Gay's. Law- 
yer Henry was James Edward Henry of Spartanburg, S. 0, His wife was 
Elizabeth. Larkin Jones, who with his cousin "stole a march" on the Gen- 
eral, was a distinguished physician of Charlotte, N. C , 



42 James Sprunt Historical Monograph. 

shower that fell. "Giddings old place, now occupied b}- three 
men of the name of Harrison — a fatherand his three sons, is a i 
fine sample of what is called in the mountains a Cove. The . 
Yadkin is here a brawling- mountain stream and the moun- ■ 
tain instead of coming up close to it recedes so as to leave a , 
handsome plantation of level land along its banks. Here is a 
fine peach and apple orchard and as pleasant a spot but for I 
its situation as is to be found in the country. But the only | 
access to it is by a trail or foot-path leading over a mountain * 
ridge. Tis a very valley of Wyoming — the place for a per- 
son to retire to, who has been illtreated by the world and is I 
disgusted with it — the place for him to retire to and not be \ 
happy. I recommended it as a retreat to Law}'er Henry — , 
telling him how finely he could shoot bears for his wife to eat . 
and get fine skins to warm her — the orchard would also furn- 
ish fine whiskey for her as well as the field the best of wheat \ 
and he could present the whole to her as the product of his . 
own labor and a testimonial of his love. But he did not seem , 
to approve of the plan. We did not leave the place before 
sun-down and had then to wind our way over the hills and - 
down the river ten miles but it was a fine moon-light night. 
We reached home after the family had all retired to rest but 
found a g-ood supper ready for us. 

Frida} r Morning-. Started after breakfast and rode down to 
Catlett Jones's 3 [torn] took in Dr. McKenzie — rode down to 
Tommy Tripletts 3 to dinner and then to Wilkesboro. This 
upper valley of the Yadkin is delightful. From half a mile i 
to a mile broad — bounded by ranges of mountains of mod- , 
erate elevation — the Brushey mountains on one side and a 
small chain parallel to the Blue Ridge on the other — the 
land is very fertile — pleasant to cultivate and produces im- 

1 Probably a plantation called Goshen, eight miles above Wilkesboro 
now owned by Mr. Columbus Williams. It was once owned by " Tommy 
Triplett." 



2See note about the Jones family. 
3A substantial and good citizen. 






Dr. Mitchell's Diary. 43 

mense quantities of corn. The river is here a stream of 
moderate size and rushes rapidly along- over its gravelly bed — 
the air is salubrious and healthy and the soil occupied by 
very respectable farms. Col. Davenport 1 , Gen. Jones, Gen. 
Lenoir, Major Witherspoon, Col. Catlett Jones, Capt. Dula 
and others — (it is not a war-like neighborhood these militar}- 
titles to the contrary notwithstanding). They want only an 
evangelical clergyman of good abilities and learning and a 
respectable academy to make this valley a very 
desirable place of residence — but these important requi- 
sites I fear they will not soon have. Tommy Triplett is an 
unbeliever who cannot read and an honest kind man as Mr. 
Kenzie tells me. From him I had another edition of the story 
about lead found at the north of Stoney Fork within a mile of 
him, 12 miles from Wilkesboro. An old hunter parted from 
his company was scouring about and fell upon a place where 
the indians had cut lead from the bottom of the branch and a 
bag of their bullets was hanging from the tree, but he was 
never able (as he neglected to mark the spot) to find it ag-ain. 
Such in substance is the account that I have received in so 
many different places and from so many different persons that 
I am ready to knock down the man who shall tell the tale 
again. To compensate me however in part he told me of 
some passages between himself and a mineral-rod man, a race 
of vermin who infest this country and share the confidence of 
the people so that it is a constant question when they learn 
that I am concerned with the metals — whether I will under- 
take to find where those substances lie hid in the bowels of 

] In consequence of the war-like spirit engendered by the Revolutionary 
war and that of 1812 the militia was kept up in considerable efficiency. Mil- 
itary offices were evidence of high standing in the community. All these 
men were men of substance and of influence in the upper Yadkin coun- 
try — called the Happy Valley. Col Wm. Davenport, Hon. James O. Har- 
per. Gen. S. F. Patterson and Col. Edmund Jones in 1852 established the 
Yadkin Valley High School under Captain E. W. Faucette, an excellent 
teacher. Davenport Female College was established in 1855- '6 and named 
in honor of Colonel Davenport. 



44 James Sprunt Historical Monograph. 

the earth. Triplett proposed to one of these gentry to fimr 
his lead mine at the mouth of Stoney Creek and promised ; 
reward of one hundred dollars if he would do so. He readih 
engaged to undertake the task but said it might lie deep. No 
said Triplett, it is within two feet of the surface. But th< 
large body of the ore may lie deep and in that case my rod:> 
will be drawn to it notwithstanding this search for ore ris 1 
ing to the surface. Triplett appearing incredulous he saic 
he would find any money about the house. He was told tha' 
5 silver dollars should be hid in the field and he should deposit 
5 more in the hands of a third person and if he could by his' 
art find the five he should have the whole ten — if not he was 
to forfeit his own five. The smallness of the sum was an ob- : 
jection at first but he appeared equally backward when it wa> 
proposed to substitute 20 instead of five. The fellow in Ashe 
urged the strange objection to the mineral rod viz, that if the' 
metals had any power of attracting the twigs all the branches 
would be stripped from the trees. Here at Tripletts there 
was an old Capt. Duncan from Milledgeville in Georgia who 
appeared to be a man of truth and told some stories of the 
revolution and the wars of which be had borne a part and of 
antecedent events, of Col. Morgan and Col. Cresap. Accord- ' 
ing to him Mr. Jefferson's story of Logan, the indian chief, is 
extremely incorrect. The indians had been plundering the 
white settlements and Duncan and others went down to drive J 
them off, falling upon their encampment. Duncan for the first 
time "burnt powder" at the human, fired the first gun and 
killed a large indian. Others were killed and a foolish Dutch- ! 

• Published in Notes on Virginia. Logan, or Tali gah jate, stated that 
"Colonel Cresap, in cold blood and unprovoked, murdered all the relatives 
of Lagan, not even ■paring women and children." His letter to the Peace f 
Commission was very pathetic Probably Captain Duncan gives the more 
correct account of the cause of the war. The war began in 1744 and was 
accompanied by fearful barbarities. Logan is said to have killed 30 with his 
own hand. He was killed after some yean while attacking a relative in 
drunken frenzy. "Col Morgan" was probably when Duncan knew him 
General DavW Morgan, the hero of Cowpeus. 



Dr. Mitchell's Diary. 45 

man levelled his gun at a squaw and though told not to 
shoot it was a white man's squaw he blazed away and killed 
her. This was the sister of Logan and her death was what 
roused him. 

On my return to Wilkesboro walked down to examine the 
white spots in the bank below town, found them to be spots 
in the granite in which the Feldspar greatly predominated. 
Col. Waugh' offered me his horse to ride out to the Brushey 
mountains tomorrow and Dr. Satterwhite engaged to accom- 
pany me. 

Saturday Morning. Started after breakfast for the Brushey 
Mountains Dr. Satterwhite and Dr. McKenzie and Mr. a Mor- 
eau — called here Marou. Passed the vineyard which Moreau 
had planted on the mountain on land granted I believe by the 
state for this purpose. He is a native of Alsace, a tailor, 
and, as Gen. Stokes informs me, not much acquainted with the 
cultivation of the vine. The yard certainly presents but 
a sorry appearance which he attributed to the delay inci- 
dent to the distance of Wilkesboro from the place where the 
shoots were cut in Pennsylvania. The vineyard is shortly 
(next 3'ear) to be removed to the top of the mountain 
and Moreau is to devote all his time to it. I believe he 
will be tired of it although he is spoken of as a very 
industrious and worthy man. The Brushey mount- 
ains are higher than I supposed — furnish some grand 
table land 3 or 4 miles across and some fine prospects. The 
black lead 3 is on their southern side near the Iredell line — 
was recently discovered breaking from the ground by the 

JColonel Wm. Waugh, emigrated from Pennsylvania; merchant; part- 
ner with Major Finley, had branch stores in Ashe, Caldwell, Cherokee and 
Jonesborn, Tennessee. Cwned Moravian Falls where he had a handsome 
brick residence, flour mills, the best in the country, saw mill, &c. Never 
was married. 

2 A Frenchman. The vineyard was a failure. Some species of his 
grapes are still left in the community, said to be very flue, 

3 Now owned by Mr. John Love. Not worked; 






46 James Spru/it Historical Monograph. 

side of a foot-path by a girl Miss . Her father has du 

up a quantity but made only a small hole in so doing" — so the 
it has been very little explored. It occurs in nodules in th' ; 
soil and it is likely there is a good deal of it. It is on th 
land of a Mr. Davis. Returned by a different route — passe 
the grave of a negro who was whipped to death two or threi 
years ago by his master and another man who took him fror^ 
jail and left him dead in the road and [torn] . Passed tht 
seat of Col. Waugh's saw Mill 5 or (> miles from town. It isj , 
wonderful seat formed by beds of gneiss rock crossing th< 
Moravian creek. Supped at Dr. 'Satterwhites. He is a nat. 
ive of Granville — an alumnus of the University- Formerly i- 
merchant, now a physician— not as I suspect a very scientific 
one — a farmer — married to a sister of Mr. Cowan, of Salisbury- 
has three children — one pretty daughter — more of a reader 
than any other one in Wilkes county. Unitarian in faith. 
though a g-ood deal shaken of late — has left off swearing 
since Mr. Gay came to Wilkesboro. Found 'James Norwood 
sick on my return. , 

Sunday Morning. Preached to a small congregation in the 
courthouse twice. Made out the worst when I had Gen 
Stokes and the largest and most respectable number of per- , 
sons to hear me. this was not pleasant but must be submitted , 
to. 

Monday Morning. Alter packing my minerals— started for 
Surry. Dr. McKenzie in company for a few miles. Stopped 
at the house of John Bryant Esq. 8 miles from town and took 
dinner. Visited his gold mine. Whilst dinner was getting 
ready a mau rode up and requested assistance for a woman 
who had fallen from a wagon and broken her arm. We went 
down and found her collar bone broken — got her into the 
nearest house. McKenzie adjusted it. made her as comforta- 
ble as we could. It is in such situations that riches are truly 

'Horace B. Satterwhite, entered the University from Salisbury in 1805, 
-James Hogg Norwood— Graduated at the U. of N. O. in 1824; was 
then a Tutor, afterwards a lawyer. 



Dr. Mitchells Diary. 47 

valuable by enabling - us to command every assistance and 
comfortable situation. Started from Bryants, called at his 
son-in-law's Col Jones Wrenton to see a rock resembling- ( un- 
decipherable) of the Sandhills but uninteresting - in any other 
point of view. How did it get (word undecipherable) easily 
formed and in many situations? I must examine its situation 
about Fayetteville. Rounded pebbles are abundant about here 
but do not extend as he informed me more than half a mile from 
the river from which they are evidently derived. Passed on and 
crossed the river at a ford where a Lawyer named 1 Hill was 
drowned during the last year and put up at 2 Major Meredith 
Thurmonds. He has a beautiful situation — fine land — and a 
fine river road by him and the Pilot and Blue Ridge in view. 
Thurmond is not a very intellectual man but he treated me 
well. Showed me some blankets manufactured by his wife 
nearly equal to the rose blankets — made as Mrs Thurmond 
informed me by spinning the } 7 arn very coarse— twisting it 
but little and carding it up. Also some paintings of his 
daughter's, some of them frightful enough, but displaying on 
the whole a good talent in a girl of 14 who had had no in- 
structor. In the morning I encouraged the parents to culti- 
vate the genius of their daughter and to give her a good 
education — Described the proficiency of my own daughter 
which I ascribed not to any superiority of talent but to the 

II am unable to learn of the drowning of any lawyer whatever. Per- 
haps I mistake the name. But the name of a Hill appeared on the court 
docket prior to 1828 and disappeared about that time. 

2Maj. Meredith Thurman or Thurmond an influential and wealthy man 
lived on Yadkin near where the village of Rondais situated. His place is now 
owned by Dr. James Hickersou. He with Dr. John and Benjamin Mar- 
tin attempted to dredge the Yadkin, so that boats could be run to Wilkes- 
boro. and all lost heavily. Thurman then moved to Tennessee. According 
to one informant his oldest daughter, Julia, the pretty one referred to by 
Dr. Mitchell, probably, married James Dickerson and lived in the "Hollows 
of the Dan" in Surrey county. He had another pretty daughter, Mildred, 
who married Jesse Franklin of Surry. According to another informant, 
his daughter, Sally, married a Colonel Holt and moved to Mississippi. 



: 



48 James Spruni Historical Monograph. 



diligent care of her excellent mother. As I am leaving- Wilkes* 
I may say that it appears to be deficient in mineral riches.., 
A series of beds of "iron ore not of the best quality appearsr 
to lie along the base of the Brushe}* Mountains and that is>; 
really all. The predominant rock is gneiss but there is a.j 
good deal of granite and mica slate. The good land lies ' j 
along the river and is held by men whose wealth has given' 
them an opportunity of acquiring intelligence and they have N 
given to the county a respectability abroad not possessed by I 
any of its neighbours. 

Tuesday Morning. I had intended to pass from Col Thur- ; 
monds to Mr Franklin's in Surry but learn that that gentle 
man is gone from home to attend the meeting of the council ' 
of state convened on the 30th. to appoint a successor to the late j 
attorney general J.F.Taylor. I determined to direct my course 
immediately to 2 Rockford the Metropolis of Surry. Thurmond 
accompanied me some distance to see me over the ford and 
passing through Jonesville a town of 7 houses I arrived at 
Rockford about 3 in the afternoon without any particular 
incident. The country was only moderately fertile. I had 
some apprehensions respecting the depth of the Yadkin as 
the river was swollen with antecedent rains but passed it in 
safety and put up with Matthew Hughes Esq. one of the 5 
inhabitants (masters of families) of the place, where I had an 
excellent cup of coffee poured out to me by his beautiful 
and pleasant daughter. Rode out with Matthew to see some 
iron ore and some of Mr. Olmsteads -Lazulite (decomposed 
Chalcedony.) The ore is the magnetic oxide in gneiss, has 
been smelted is of a good quality — three miles from town but 
the vein appears to be feeble. Examined the rocks near the 
ford and found them to be Mica Slate. Mrs Hughes is of the 
Martin family and connected with Mrs Ham Jones who has 

• Iron ore beds on the Brushey not worked. 

^Rockford has about 100 inhabitants, The Act authorizing removal of 
the county seat to Dobsou was passed in 1848. 
^Dr. Mitchell is ridiculing Dr. Olmstead here. 



Dr. Mitchell^ Diary. f» 

been staying- here' for some weeks and left these parts to g-o 
down to Mrs William's near the shallow ford only this morn- 
ing". She is here to keep her children who are sickly 1'rom tin- 
pestilential air of Salisbury and talks of going to Chapel 
Hill. 

Wednesday Morning. Started very early and went down 
to Major William's 3 miles with the double, triple, purpose 
of getting my horse shod some breakfast and seeing - his 
limestone quarry. He is the brother of Lewis the Congress- 
man and the father of the fellow who gave us so much trouble 
at the last session. He is a widower and has been so many 
years. His oldest daughter is married to a Mr. Dodge a 
Northern man a lawyer living in Huntsville and gone on with 
her husband and sister to see his friends. Another daughter 
is at Salem and there is only one child a tolerably pretty 
little daughter at home. He treated me very well took me to 
see his quarries and kiln. Shod my horse I had him shod 
gave me a breakfast and would have nothing in return. Also 
sent down a boy with me to Haynes'and Hutchins's ore banks. 

■Col. James Martin, of the Revolution, married for his second wife the 
mother of Hamilton C Jones, the lawyer of Salisbury. Joues married 
the daughter of Major Pleasant Henderson, of Chapel Hill, whose wife 
was a daughter of Col. Martin. Matthew M. Hughes was a relative of the 
Dobsons and a man of wealth, who moved to Tennessee. He and Judge 
Martin owned about 40,000 acres in one tract in Surry county. Part of it 
was lost from uncertain description of the land in the deed: • '40,000 acres 
between Dobson and the Blue Ridge.'' 

2Nicholas Williams, father of the late Nicholas L. Williams and great 
grandfather of N Glenn Williams. There were two of the name at the 
University in lt*2T from Surry County, John F. and Joseph Wdliauis. 
John F. was the culprit His offence was visiting Hillsboro without per- 
mission and staying a day or two He agreed to obey the law and was 
pardoned. 

3James R. Dodge, a nephew of Washington Irving, Solicitor of the 
Judicial Circuit. It was about him that Governor Swain quoted the Eng- 
lish mock epitaph on one Dodge, to which he made the impromptu reply. 
The incident is narrated in Wheeler's History. Colonel Dodge had a son, 
a General in the Federal army, James Irwin Dodge. Governor Glenn is 
his grandson. 



50 James Sprunt Historical Monograph. 

i 

The former is in Mica Slate and a good deal worked out The 
latter, Ben Hutchins's, is a recent discovery in gneiss and is 
used at Shepherds forge. Hutch ins, is a quaker and his ore 
bank seems to be well wrought. Some of the ore is contam- 
inated with soapstone and I found very good asbestus in the 
mica. There appeared to be a good deal of iron ore about 
this place, U or 7 miles from Rockford on the Huntsville road: 
and some manganese. Got from Hutchins some "seed of a 
vegetable I had never seen before called by him raising corn 
of which it is the qualit}' to make bread rise rapidly as he 
said. I have not much faith in it but took some of the seed 
as a curiosity. Rode down to Joseph Thompson's — an J old 
gander of a fellow. 

[The letter ends here and is not signed.] 



Elkspur Gap 3 , Wilkes Co. July, 20th. 1828. 
My Dear inid Good Wife: 

Amongst the unpleasant circumstances with which my 
present occupation is attended is the inability under which I 
am laid of spending the Sabbath in a manner which my con- 
science approves. As 1 am laid up here for a day with no • 
good books at hand and as your situation is desolate — and 
lonely, but still how different from that of a widowed mother), 
I believe I may regard it as a duty as well as feel it a pleasure 
to resume m\ narrative at the point where it was broken off 
upon tin- sun i in it of the Grandfather mountain and fill a sheet 
or hall sheet (you cannot in conscience complain as I have 
nearly exhausted ,ill the paper which you gave me) with 

iA oorrespoiident iu Surry says that the vegetable was imps. Dr. Mitch* 

ell was a skilled botanist, hut it is no reflection OH him that he could UOt 

Identify the seed 

'-'Dr. Mitehell was fond of this term, It is not one of ridicule or re- 
proach. lb- means that Thompson was of a solitary habit nud odd, pe- 
culiar ways — like an old gamier, who has lost bis mate. 

"Now called Dee;' ( i.ip It is a spur between Elk and Stouey Fork. 



D) MttchelVs Diary .tI 

ulterior particulars. It is one «>l the pleasures ol the relation 
in which we stand to each other that those trifles which to a 
third persou would bo intolerably wearisome have with us a 
deep as well as unfailing - interest. You must excuse repeti- 
tion if I should happen to fall into any. 

The vegetation of the summit of the Grandfather is pecu- 
liar. Carexes (inhabitants of a moist soil) constitute the 
principal grasses, the trees are the Balsam Fir — and one or 
two others which I did not know. Does not 'Michaux assign 
to this mountain a peculiar species of Pine not found else- 
where upon the Mountain? I could see nothing of any such 
and Henry Holtsclaw denied that there was any. Saw a new 
(to me) species of sambucus with red berries which were 
already ripe and at the point where we enjoyed the first pros- 
pect a small shrub grew and interwove its branches so thick 
that we reposed upon the summit of its limbs as upon a carpet. 
The climate of the summit must be considerably colder than 
that of Chapel Hill as the Blackberry, which I found fullv 
ripe in many places as I came along before I reached the foot 
of the Mountain and were decaying through excessive ripe- 
ness, was still green throughout Ashe at this time and near 
the summit of the Grandfather was either flowering or pass- 
ing- into the state of berry. Capt. Smith, who had worn his 
thin coat up, complained bitterly of the coldness of the wind 
and I felt it myself though less than he did. To enjoy the 
prospect in all its glory we climbed each a several balsam 
tree and the tree being stunted in its growth had a large trunk 
(comparatively ) thickly beset with limbs so that we could 
easily place our heads higher than its top. The prospect was 

iThere were two eminent botanists of this name, Andre! Michanx, the 
father, and Francois Andre, the son The first published "A Treatise on 
the Oaks of North America," 1801. and a "Flora Boreali — Americana," 
1803. The sou published "The Naturalization of American Forest Trees,' 
1805. A Journal of his travels, 1805, and ''North American Sylva," 1810- 
1813, completed by Nuttall and others. He died in France in 1855. Both, 
father and son were natives of France 



52 James Spnuit Historical Monograph. 

all but infinite. The dav was fine — a few fiving clouds and a 
thin haze or smoke only. The Pilot and several towns were 
distinctly visible, also endless ridges of Tennessee, the Black 
Mountain of Buncombe, the Yellow and Roan Mountains. The 
Table rock which appeared as a considerable eminence at 
Morganton was dwindled down to a Mole Hill. It was a ques- 
tion with us whether the Black and Roan Mountains were not 
higher than the Grandfather and we were all inclined to give 
them the palm and I very well recollect that when I was in 
Morganton last year a mountain lying towards the westward 
(the Black Mountain) appeared higher than it and the same 
impression was made by the Yellow and Roan mountains when 
I was upon the White Top. There can be no doubt that the 
country around the base of the Grandfather is higher than any 
other tract along these elevations but I suspect the Black and 
Roan to be higher peaks. The Grandfather appears to me to 
be Grau Wacke and to belong to the transition of Tennessee. 
Along the creek by which we ascended I found clay slate 
which appeared to be transition — also about the very head 
spring's of Linnville and along the flank of the Grandfather. 
If I am correct I suspect that instead of there being a small 
strip of transition along the base of the Blue Ridge as repre- 
sented by Maclurc , that formation here occupies the whole 
breadth of the Mountains. If I were to spend another sum- 
mer in these parts I would locate myself on the Old Fields of 
Toe River and investigate the district lying between and 
around these high mountains. When we had finished our 
examination we began to descend in a great hurry it being 
the object of the hunters to reach the cabin of Mr. Leather- 

■ Wiii. Miicluri'. born in Scotland, emigrated to this country in 1796j 
formed project of a Geological Survey of the United States, crossed the 
Alleghaniea fifty times, mostly on foot; published first Geological map of 
the United States and was called "Father of American Geology;" attempt- 
ed but tailed in establishing an Agricultural College, donated in his life* 
time or by will SJO. 000 mid all Ins collections to the Academy of Natural 
Sciences in Philadelphia. Died in Mexico. 



Dr. Mitchell's Dairy. 53 

stocking Aid ridge and feast upon Venison, Bear Meat and 
Honey. In the attempt to do this we failed and camped on 
the topof Haw Ridge three miles from Barnhills. A shelving 
rock projected over our heads and kept off the dew; my blanket, 
after it had served as a manger for my horse to eat his 
provender from, constituted a bed for Henry Holtsclaw and 
Robert Barnhill. My Buffalo skin served Capt. John Smith 
whilst my bearskin served Mr. Noah Mast and myself. Thus 
furnished I lying in the middle and with a blazing fire at our 
feet we passed a pleasanter night than I had expected. I 
looked at my watch a good many times to see if it was not 
nearly morning. 

Tuesday morning — Cloudy — it rained considerably before 
night. We rose as soon as it was light. Holtsclaw and Smith 
parted from us to go to the Old Fields of Toe River. The rest 
of us passed down the side of the Mountain. Breakfasted and 
had a pretty good cup of coffee at Barnhills. Left Masts 
about 10, the old man consenting to receive 50 cents for the 
trouble I had given him, for the Tenn. line. Thinking- 1 owed 
Noah Mast some expression of gratitude for his attentions to 
me over and above what he had received, I called at his 
brother's a couple of miles from his father's and left my pocket 
map, to which he seemed to take a fancy, with a few lines in 
it. This was on Cove creek. A mile or two further struck 
upon gneiss rock which continued with an exception of a small 
tract of granite to within 2 miles of the Tennessee line on the 
top of the stone mountain. Called at Mrs. Farthings 1 three 
miles from the top of the stone Mountain and got my dinner. 
Madam was sick as she supposed with St. Anthony's tire and 
had been for a month. She appeared to be a worthy woman. 
Her husband was from Wake; being sent on a missionary Tour 
to Ashe he fell in love with the mountains and removed hither 
about a year ago or a little more and soon died. She was well 

!See note to preceding letter, 



54 fames Sprunt Historical Monograph. 

acquainted with brother Patterson'. After my return from 
the Mountains younjj Farthing rode with me a couple of 
miles on my road to George Wilsons 5 on the Fork Ridge 
between Cove Creek and Beaver dam. I also left with him 
some specimens of rock to be brought down when he comes to 
Wake in the Fall. George Wilson lives on an eminence so 
steep that my horse had difficulty in climbing up when I led 
him. Staid at Wilson's a log house with fringes between 
the beams Tapestried with 17 petticoats of domestic manu- 
facture. Wilson was gone a hunting and soon came in. it 
being tlark wet and tired, having hunted two days with 
some of his neighbors on the stone mountain distant three 
miles and killed Nothing. His wife said he never was as 
tired as when he came from hunting. Ashe was first occu- 
pied b\ hunters who came in search of game. When thev 
report. (1 the Fertility of the soil to their neighbours — they 
came in but engaged also much in hunting and the habits 
generated in those days still continue even after the game is 
gone. The people lack industry. Some parts of the country 
for instance on the three forks and about the Court are as 
tine as the good parts ot N. England and if the Inhabitants 
would be industrious and cultivate them in a similar manner 
thev might have painted frame houses instead of the present 
unsighth log hovels. It is a favourite theory of mine that 
Ashe has greater facilities for maintaining its soil in a state 
of productiveness i b\ means ,>i clover) than any other part of 
N. (a. that all the for ( sts will It, reafter be cut down and con- 
verted into extensive pastures on which will be Wk\ vast herds 
..I cattle and flocks of sheep that it will hereafter be abund- 
antly more populous than at present and even sought to as an 
agreeable place ol residence George Wilson is a red hawed 

i Rev. John J J nrtt<rs< >n . ot Richmond Oounfty who graduated from U. 
N. 0. 1816, and was thru for awhile tutor 

it ;i uumber of descendants living In tlie same settlement amonp 

fhem "Lucky Joe Wilson ' 



Dr. Mitchell's Diary. 55 

sort of a fellow with a wife looking- much better than he does. 
His wife is better looking and the only objection I had to her 
was: the fleas in the beds and that after wiping- her soiled 
finders upon her apron she proceeded directly to wet the meal 
for the corn bread which along with some milk constituted 
my supper. A man who was in, complaining of the difficulty 
of getting corn, I observed to him that now the rye crops had 
come in, his family could turn upon that instead of corn. He 
replied that he did not like rye, it was fit only for horses; so 
tastes differ. I could not help noticing the difference in point 
of intelligence between Wilson's children and mine attribut- 
ing it to the better education mine had received from an 
attentive mother. By the way I forgot to mention that when 
on the balsam tree on the top of the grandfather I picked one 
of the cones or burrs for my wife — one for Mary one for Ellen 
— one for Margaret and a little 'tiny one besides. 

Wednesday morning. — My feet being stil-1 sore with the 
peeling they had got in the ascent of the Grandfather I only 
hobbled up the ridge over some very rich soil with corn grow- 
ing upon it to see the ore which I found to be Iron ore in 
small quantity apparently but of good quality and took some 
specimens along with me. Rode to 'Mr. Shearer's to dinner 
beating the rocks as I went, calling upon 3 David Dagget — who 
told me he knew where there was cotton stone — (Asbestus or 
Amaranthus) two miles from his house in the rich mountain 
and was glad to find he was neither at home nor likely to be 
in two days. Called at •'Council's store (he keeps a post-office) 
and took a letter for a person in Wake and obtained leave to 
write to him if I should have occasion for information res- 

1 The "tiny one" was destined, as fate would have it, for another daugh» 
ter, Eliza North. 

2 See note on preceding letter. 

3 Diiggett used to attend Boon Court and teach a whistling school. 
Each pupil paid ten r*euts and he who whistled loudest -'took the p'le". 

* Jordan Council, n very noted man; grandfather of Judge W B. Cou^i 
/cil His son. Dr. W, B. Couucil. was State Senator. 



56 James Sprunt Historical Monograph. 

pecting Ashe County. Rode from Shearer's down to 'Davidlli 
Sands, Esqr., a bachelor with three or four sisters, and hisf' 
mother with him. He showed me some ore from Tennessee^] 
which he supposed to be Antimony but which proved to beJ 
micaceous oxide of Iron. Walked with him to see a white; 
substance in the creek on his land. It was the 'Porcelain' 
clay. Sands rode down with me to 'Esquire Miller's. We 
passed through a meadow beautiful like those of Yankee, 
land. Miller treated me kindly, would take nothing*, is a busy 
little man of some sense; has been a member of the legisla- 
ture. He showed us some Iron ore obtained from his land. It 
is the magnetic oxide enveloped in a stone (^Magnesium rock) 
which would always prevent its being worked to advantage 
even if il were a rich ore and in great quantity. Walked up 
to where a son in law (Joel Bingham > has been begetting him 
a whole house full of grandchildren. In return he has 
allowed him the use of the land where he lives but has not 
made him a title to it. Joel had found or obtained ore from 
which lead had been run out and 'twas >aid he got it, but Joel 
was not communicative upon the subject, from the rocks 
above the house but they contained no ore. Joel said noth- 
ing so we returned after it was dark. Slept in a chamber 
with lads— two occupied a second bed in second corner of the 
chamber and two grown up girls a third. 

Thursday morning. — Made rather a late start. Sands rode 
down with me to the Bull Ruffin. We had Hornblende Rock 
to the north oi Elk, then up Elk by Fanners three miles to 
the Bull Ruffin. We ascended first the ridge opposite the 
Bull Ruffin to an ancient excavation; I pronounced it at once 
the work Hi aborigines searching for mica, large plates and 
masses • f which lay scattered over the surface similar to 
what I had seen two or three miles from Rutherfordton and 

J Neither Sands nor his Bisters ever married. 

'-' Has never been worked. 

- 1 David Miller un- ;i member ,.t || tr Legislature in 1W>0. 1811 and 1818. 



/)>. Mitchell "> Diary. 57 

as many from Franklin on the Tennessee. The Bull Ruftin 
itself is a curious collection of Magnesium rocks containing 
octahedral crystals of iron ere disseminate but not abundant 
enough in any place seen by me to be wrought to advantage 
and the gangue too is an insuparable objection. Found a 
piece of chalcedony. Parted with Sands; returned to Far- 
mer's quite chap-fallen, having gone up with the expectation 
of rinding this a rich and valuable bed of ore. Farmer 
appeared to be an industrious worthy man — removed from Ire- 
dell and bettered his condition. Rode down to Jefferson. 
Thev were making ha}' by the way side. The pleasant smell 
of the hay — the sight of the rows of cocks in the beautiful 
green meadows such as I had been accustomed to in my child- 
hood—the delicious coolness of the air — the shadows of the 
mountains and the luxuriant foliage and blocks of the chest- 
nuts extending up their sides made the ride delightful — and 
to crown all on my arrival I found a letter from my dear wife 
informing me of the welfare of herself and children. I spent 
the evening in finishing a letter to her I had begun some time 
before. 

Friday morning: — Was engaged till half past 10 in prepar- 
ieg to leave Ashe county. Dislodged the crackers from the 
tin trunk into an old stocking and supplied their place with 
7 lb. Maple Sugar, boxed my minerals and engaged to have 
them sent to Wilkesboro the next day; paid Jonathen Faw, 
Esqr., a heavy bill and after a tremendous quarrel with Fox, 
who had become active with the fortnights repose I had given 
him to recover from his bruises, started for the lower end of 
the county and the Elkspur gap. Packed up specimens of 
what I suppose to be specular oxide of Iron at intervals. At 
about <S or 7 miles left the hornblende rock pretty much and 
passed into mica slate — the country became poorer. Broke 
one of the (Thills?, vide Walker) of my wagon in passing the 
south Fork of N. River and was obliged to draw up at 'Joshua 

J Was Register of deeds, afterwards Sheriff, a very influential man. 



58 James Sprunt Historical Monograph. 

Coxes 11 miles from town where I met with a very kind recep- , 
tion and ate the first fresh venison I have seen in the county. ■; 
Coxe is a man of more sense I believe than he is g-enerally ' 
taken for, a pious Baptist and a genuine enemy to General 
Jackson, whom he terms without scruple a murderer. Coxe . 
undertook to tinker my waggon and having- told me of good ; 
specimens of rock crystals at 'James Mulkeys I went down [ 
thither accompanied by Coxes son — the distance a mile and 
the river to cross. This is below the mouth of Cranberrv. 
Found magnificent specimens of mineral that never possesses j 
any beaut}- — the Staurotide. — Mulkey's crystalis ploughed 
up in the side a hill. There is probably a vein under the 
spot. The larg-est fragment on hand weighs 41b. and was 
employed by his wife as a weight. I was obliged to g"ive him 
the price of 41b of lead, 50 cents for it. Returned and went 
out to Caneda Richardsons to see if I could find any of the 
garnets of which I had seen a fine specimen in the hands of 
Mr. Mitchell at Jefferson. Found Madam and one man and 
two daughters, one with a child in her arms. The old woman 
is Coxes sister. She brushed about, found me some g-arnets • 
along with onions and several (torn) in an old Bee-gum went 

out 

[The remainder of this letter is lost.] 

Lincolnton, July22d, 1827. 
Dear Marie: 

It is perhaps hardly in accordance with the 
plans we have formed for the regulation of our future expedi- 
tion, that I should write you two letters from this place, but 
as my last, from want of time, was rather brief, 1 perhaps 
owe to our love for each other to send you what you now re- 
ceive. It is Sabbath evening- and I have a couple of hours to 
devote to 3-ou. I would it were in my power to speak instead 

'Mulkey's crystal bed uut worked. A Ford on Nt\v Run bearing Lis 
name. 



Dr Mitchells Diary. 5§ 

of writing- to you. You recollect that 1 left Chapel Hill on 
Wednesday the 4th. I passed on without accident to Hills- 
boro where I called on Mr. Witherspoon 1 to see what g-ood 
word he had to send to his brethren in the west. He said he 
had none. I called also on Rnrringer 2 and Graham, former 
students in the University, and obtained from them letters to 
gentlemen in the West. Passed on to Mr. Mebanes 3 , and 
after dinner had a long stroll with Alexander northward of 
the road to see the rocks. After returning from that went 
out by myself and strolled to Father Curries". The Father 
was gone to hold a preaching at the Canby's 5 tavern, and had 
not returned. Took my tea with the wife and daughter, and 
met the Father himself as I started back for Mr. Mebane's. 
Mr. Mebane told me that the granite north af the slate conies 
within 4 or 5 miles of him, is abundant at the Cross Roads 
church and Mr. Canby's. Thursday, started for Greensboro 
with the horse, Mike, in exchaug-e for Dick, and 6 Alexander 
Mebane along. The ride possessed no great interest. We 
passed over slaty rocks and over green, but not proper green- 
stone, rocks till we were some distance, passed Dick's in Guil- 
ford and l < miles from Greensboro or thereabouts entered 
upon the granite country which continued to Greensboro. 
Seven miles west of the river (Haw) we appeared also to pass 
over a narrow tongue of granite having talc substituted for 
mica. Got our dinner at a Mr. 7 Gibson,s where I saw some 

!Rev. John Witherspoon, Pastor of Presbyterian chnrch. 

2Daniel M. Barringer of Concord, aud Win. A. Graham of Lincoln. 

3 James Mebane. Speaker of the House of Commons, a student of the 
University in 1795. Alexander, graduated 1831. 

*Rev Currie, Presbyterian preacher. 

•^Canby's Tavern, at a place now called Boone's Station. 

6 Son of James Mebane, afterwards a Presbyterian preacher. 

7 Joseph Gibson. Gave his name to Gibson Station, lived one mile N. 
E. of Whitsett; dwelling house still .standing. He is buried near by in a 
rural cemetery and a stately stone gives the facts of his life. No living 
heirs 






60 James Sprunt Historical Monograph* 

tombstones made of the Randolph soapstone. When wei 1 
came to Greensboro, Mr, Mebaue drove to Mr. Paisleys 1 and 
I went to Moorings- and got m}- supper, and then walked up 
to Mr. Paisleys and staid all night. Mr. Paisley showed me 
some specimens of porous, half-decomposed granite which it 
was supposed might answ r er for mill stone, but they are 
neither hard nor tough enough. Friday, started early for 
Jamestown distant ten miles, passed over granite and horn 
blende rock of the same age with the granite and having 
the crystals of hornblende along — giving to the rock a black 
color till we came to Deep River hard by Jamestown — the '! 
ascent of the hills seemed ;in imperfect slate rock. Saw here 
window sills at Mendenhalls' taken from a soapstone ridge a 1 
few miles below. Three miles before I came to Jamestown 
found good specimens of Epidote, imperfectly crystalized. , 
From Jamestown to within miles of Lexington passed 

over a tolerably fertile, but geologically speaking uninterest- 1 
ing country. After passing the creek miles east of Lex- 

ington the country seemed to change, the soil became red 
and there is a narrow strip of slate, as I am well satisfied 
thrown in, but of its extent I know nothing. Put up at '. 
Rounsavilles 4 in Lexington. He was from Samson; his wife is . 
a pleasant, free spoken, sensible woman, who if she had been ■ 
a man could have been an orator. Called on Mr. Allen the 
preacher. He has refused to take charge of the school, and 
so starves with his wife on 200 dollars. I lliink he is wrong. 
He could be more useful with the school. People who know 
nothing of the matter will say he sits still all the week and 

iRev. Wm. D. Paisley, organiser of the Presbyterian church at Greens- t 
boro. Principal of a school for girls and one for boys- 

BQhristopher Mooring kept a hotel on what is now corner of Davie and 
East Market Streets. He was an elder in the Presbyterian church, died 
about 1830 and his widow continued the business for some time. 

•^Richard Mendenhall, a highly etseemed < Quaker. 

•'Benjamin Dusenberry Rounsaville; Graduated at U. of N. 0. 1808, 



Dr. Mitchell's Diary. 61 

preaches on Sunday. Called ou Dr. Holt' who showed me 
some gold from David Coxe's mine in the lower end of the 
county, told me the soil in the northern part was grey gran- 
ite and gave me an account of the Jersey farms of which I 
could make but little. Saw at Rounsaville some specimens of 
agate which his wife believed were from Baird's store or its 
neighborhood in Anson. Saturday, passed on to Salisbury 
over a country that puzzled me and which I was prevented 
from examining full} by the rains; the soil is red; there is 
much black sand from hornblende where the water has wash- 
ed. Towards the bridge the country became decidedly gran- 
itic. I believe this red soil to be produced by decomposition 
of hornblende rock. Not far from the river saw a pile of 
rounded pebbles which I then believed to be derived from 
the river, but which I now believe to be derived from the al- 
luvial many miles below. The country between the bridge 
and Salisbury, and around the latter place I do not fully 
understand. It may be genuine granite. Got my dinner, 
and saw and conversed with various persons — Alfred McKay 2 
the candidate. He was very cheerful and friendly, but has 
now killed himself with laudanum. Saw Bosworth the super- 
intendent of the gold washing establishment in Montgomery. 
The affair has blown out as I always knew it would. Bos- 
worth has been running up a tavern bill at Slaughter 3 because 
he had no money to pay for some time. Slaughter dunned 
him and offered to take gold, but he said he had none. Sun- 
day, preached after having staid over night with Mr. Rankin 4 , 

'Win Rainey Holt, M.D., farmer and stock-raiser — a pioneer in this 
business. President of the North Carolina Agricultural Society. Uncle 
of Governor Thomas M. Holt. 

2At U. N. O. in 1811. Was candidate for the Legislature but failed. 
Was a son of Judge Spruce McKay. 

3Slaughter's Tavern was on the S. E. side of Main (or Corbyn) Street, 
almost opposite the present Central Hotel (formerly Boyden House), was 
an inn of great repute. 

iRev. Jesse Rankin, pastor of the Presbyterian church, and principal 



b2 James Spnoit Historical Monograph. 



two sermons in the courthouse to a tolerable congregation. 
Dined with Mr. Cowen 1 , and took tea with Dr Long 3 , who is; 
a worth}* man. Monday, obtained specimens of the granite' 
they use in building in Salisbury, obtained from Dunn's 
Mountain 3 miles east, and also from a place 4 miles north. 
Started to find where the dividing line betwixt the slate and 
granite crossed the Yadkin, which I did not find after all. 
Went down the river 8 1-2 miles, and then turned across the 
country, and put up with an old Dutch Blacksmith, named 
Stirewalt on the West bank of the Dutch Buff aloe and a lit- 
tle North of the Cabarrus line. Stirewalt told us respecting \ 
his son that he had been engaged in his studies all his life- 
time; was now 25 years of age and had lately started for an 
institution in Virginia, where he was to pursue his education. 
Tuesday, started early for Concord in Cabarrus, passed over 
a country exhibiting few rocks, and the geological character 
of which I was not quite sure of till we came within 3 or 4 
miles of Concord, where it was evidently granitic. Got a tol- 
erable breakfast, and only a tolerable one, with a fractious 
old Dutchman named Klutts 3 who let us know before we had 
been half au hour in his house that he had once been a mem- 
ber of the Legislature, said that gold had been found at Con-i 
cord in the branches about it which I do not believe. Harris 5 
of the next session fell in with us here Passed over grauite 
and hornblende rock seven miles to Poplar Tent church; did 

of the Academy, left Salisbury about the close of the year; of great 
reputation as teacher ami preacher 

iThomas S. Cowen, wealthy, elder in the Presbyteriau church. Judge; 
Arnhstead Burwell, Dr. John H. McAden and Mr. E. Nye Hutchison 
married granddaughters. There was a coutest over his will, but it was; 
sustained. 

2Dr. Alexander Long, of great repute in his profession, very popular. 

;i George Klutts, Commoner in 1817, Senator 1833 and again 1834. 

•♦Edwin Robert Harris, \vh> graduated in 1828, nephew of Charles W. 
Harris, first Professor of Mat hematics iu U. N. 0. 



Dr. Mitchell* s Diary. 63 

Hot find Parson Robinson 1 at home, but got our dinner, and 
as were about starting- he arrived. After leaving his house 
fell into a tract of country I did not understand, which continued 
with some variation till we were some miles west of Rocky 
river. I know now that it belongs to a peculiar formation, 
containing gold, lying ab >ut Charlotte. Turned aside to see 
a recently opened gold mine on Mrs. Alexander's 2 laud. Trav- 
eled west until we came to the Statesville road, down which 
we turned towards Charlotte, and were very hospitably enter- 
tained by Dr. Alexander 3 , living ten miles from Charlotte, 
from whom I received much valuable information. Wednes- 
day, started after a very early breakfast and beat the rocks into 
Charlotte. They were tolerably uniform. Got our breakfast 
in Charlotte, found Smith 4 of the next Junior here who intro- 
duced me to Maj. McCombe 5 . Visited the Myers' 6 gold mine 
hard by Charlotte, then started down the Providence road for 
the southern boundary of Mecklenburg, stopped at Fosters 7 . 
He is an elder in the church at Providence, asked me whether 
I was engaged in my Theological survey, but is nevertheless 
a sensible man. Between his house and the Providence 
Church passed out of the gold country, say 9 miles from Char- 
lotte 8 , at about 17, for there being no rock but white flint upon 
the ground, I could not tell exactly when passed the bound- 

iRev. John Robinson, D. D. Pastor of Poplar Tent Presbyterian church 
and Principal of its classical school. A very eminent man. 

2Widow of Dr. Moses Winston Alexander, sister of Governor Wm. A. 
Graham. 

3 Joseph McSmith Alexander— died in 1841. 

•iFrauklin Lafayette Smith, of Charlotte, took first honor in the class of 
1829 in U. N. C. Very promising but died young. 

SMnjor McCombe married a Brandon. His daughter married Robert 
Davidson. 

QMyers' Gold mine tract is the site of Biddle University, given by Col. 
W. R. Myers. Was not profitable as a mine. 

"Foster lived in Providence, S. W. of Charlotte. 
8This is as Dr. Mitchell wrote. 



b4 James Sprit/// Historical Monograph. 

j 
aries of the Slate, and took up at McCorkles, on the bank of 
Twelve Mile creek. Thursday, went out early to see some ; 
whin near McKorkles, and where he had beeu digging- for ' 
gold, then started and passed over to Rocky River road, and ■ 
was then 9 miles from the South Carolina line, travelled up - 
the road all day on slate, saw a wonderfully fat gal, where we \ 
stopped for dinner, [)ut up for the night at Weddington's, a little 
below Rocky River in Cabarrus. Friday, started earl}', crossed - 
Rocky River, and found Read's about a mile from it, got break- 
fast, saw the stream in which they get the gold. The metal 
is evidently derived from a conglomerate rock like that at | 
Chisholm's and Parker's. It forms generally the bed of the 
creek, and is abundant about the house, crossed the Dutch 
Buffaloe, still over slate and got our dinner at "Gen. Barrin 
ger's, where there is a wonderfully pretty widow, Mrs. Boyd, ■ 
and an unmarried daughter. Started for Concord and crossed 
the edges of the slate 9 miles from Concord, then had granite " 
through the city. Met Gen. Barringer on the road, put up at 
Klutts'. Saturday, started early on the great road for Char- 
lotte, passed over granite and hornblende, got our breakfast at 
Orr's, still on granite, 8 miles from Charlotte. About 7 miles 
from the same entered the gold region, passed Hopewell Meet- 
ing House, a handsome brick building 1 , and found Mr. "Morrison 
beginning a settlement in the woods. If I had known how- 
little he was prepared to receive company, I should not per- 
haps have called on him. 1 1 is little daughter was sick with a 
swelling. After dinner Mr. Mebane took the horse and 
wagon and went over t<> see Charles Alexander, and Mr. 

iGeueral Paul Barringer, often Commoner aud State Senator: father of 
Daniel M. Member of Congress and Minister to Spain, Kufus, Brigadier - 
General uuder Hampton, aud Victor ('.Judge of the International Court in 
Egypt. The pretty widow was his daughter, Margaret, afterwards Mrs, 
Grier. The other daughter married General \V. C. Means. 

-'Robert Hall Morrison, D.D , Graduated at U. N. C. in 1818, in Presi- 
dent Polk's class. Was 1st President of Davidson College. Stonewall 
Jackson married his daughter. 

3Qharle6 Alexander— old bachelor; lived three miles east of Charlotte. 



' 



Dr. Mitchell's Diary. Us, 

Morrison and myself went out to sou 'Capp's gold mine, shock- 
ing fellows about it, drinking - and fighting. The vein of quartz 

containing" gold was nearly north and south with a dip to the 
west, about 75 degrees. 5 miles from Charlotte, west of the 
Beattvs Ferry road. Sunday preached twice tor Mr. Mor- 
rison, once with, and once without notes. They practice the 
half way covenants. There was a question about the Baptism 
of a child. It was objected that the father was intemperate, 
but it appearing that the parents were professors of relig- 
ion, all difficulties were cleared away. 

Monday, borrowed Mr. Morrison's horse and rode down to 
the slate. 14 miles; gold country all or nearly all the way; re- 
turned and dined at Mrs. Alexander's, went to see the curiously 
veined compact feldspar by the mill near Charlotte. Passed 
in and put up at Dinkin's. borrowed Mr. Smith's horse and 
rode down to the border of the gold region about (> miles 

towards — - Ferry. Took tea at Mrs. Smith's. 

called on Mr. Davidson's, and learned from him that there is 
red land of the gold region on the Waxhaw Greek, below Mr. 
■icKorkles where I struck the slate. Tuesday, started after 
breakfast, passed Mr. Morrison's, found he had gone to Con- 
cord to court, left my minerals, having made arrangement for 
having them boxed up. Left the gold region apparently 
about a mile short of the Hopewell Meeting House, turned 
down over horneblende rock to 'Tpojes ford. near which I found 
Robert Davidson, where I got the grandest dinner. 'Capt. 

iCapp's Gold Mine, now owned by Mr. John Wilkes. < >ver $1,000,000 
of gold said to have been taken out of it. 

-Dinkin's Hotel was where the Central now stands, kept by Watson 
Hiiyes and then by Moses Alexander, (not Moses Winslow Alexander i 

^Toole's ford, four miles below Cowan's, ou the plantation of Robert 
Davidson. He was son of Major John Davidson, signer of tin- Mecklen- 
burg Declaration. Name of Toole probably came from Matthew Toole, an 
Indian interpreter, mentioned in Colonial Records V. pp 141. 

'< aptain Samuel Caldwell, who fought at King's Mountain, Cowpcns 
and Guilford Court Hou^e; father of Green W. Caldwell, Member of Con- 
gress, 1841-'43. Belmont and St. Mary's college are on his home place. 



M, James Spnint Historical Monograph. 

Caldwell went with us over the ford. The river is wide, and 
carries as much water as the Haw at Jones' Ferry. Went 
down to Mr. 'Johnston's, looked over his minerals — no great 
affair after all — walked out with him and found that the 
water-worn pebbles around him are from the sandhills, as is 
proved by their being- associated with the peculiar cong-lomer- ; 
ate rock of the sand hills. There is certainly some curious, 
mica near him which expands in a candle, the phenomenon, 
which I believe to be electrical. Wednesday, started for Lin- 
colnton, I forgot to mention pretty Mrs. "Johnston. Passed 
up the river to the Beatty's ford road, and fell in with the 
peculiar primitive granite mica slate formation of Lincoln 
countv, about a mile east of the 3 Catawba spring-s. Drank of 
the water of those celebrated spring-s, now kept by M. Jug-not 
or Juggernaut as they call him, went on to 4 Gen. Graham's 
2' i miles. Gen. not at home. Saw the famous King-'s Creek 
limestone and ore which last looks like mica slate. A pecul- 
iar porphyritic schistouse granite without much mica about 
Gen. Grahams. Rode to Lincoln ton over granite and mica 
and chlorite slate. A storm of rain. At Linoclnton found 
the court sitting- and saw Gen. Graham and others. Thurs- 

'Col. James Johnston. His son Robert lived at the same place; having 
married Mary Hied daughter of Captain John Reid. a Revolutionary soldier. 
Auion^ their children was Col. Win Johnston. of Charlotte, and other prom- 
inent men. Another son, Dr William, married Nancy, daughter of 
Gen. Peter Forney. Gen. Robert D Johnston, formerly of Charlotte, 
was one of their sons. 

-'Pretty Mrs Johnston was either Mrs. Mary (born Reid ), wife of Rob- 
ert Johnston, Or Nancy (born Forney), wife of Dr, William Johnston. 

BNot "Sparkling Catawba Springs." Catawba Springs are in East 
Lincoln. They were much frequented in ante helium days, but the build- 
ings have e,,n«- to decay and the water is little used. 

'General Joseph Graham, who fought gallantly in the Revolution, was 
a Brigadier General iu the War of 1814, and Major General of Militia He 
was for seven terms state Senator from Mecklenburg. He then was a 
BaOOeSSfll] manufacturer of iron in Lincoln Co. at Vesuvius Kurnace. He 
died November 19. 183*1. aged 17 years He was father of the eminent 
WilJuuu A. Uruhuui and othyris. 






Dr. Mitchell's Diary. (,7 

day. Mr. Mebane concluded to stay and visit the girls with 
Mr. 'Henderson. After breakfast I started for the Rutherford 
line which I reached after travelling- along a ridge road. mos1 
of the way so that I saw but few rocks. Those appearing 
were Gneiss, Hornblende rock and granite. Got my dinner 
at old Lewis's in Rutherford, went out to see Mr. Boggs's 
gold mine which furnishes nothing but mica, then rode down 
the count} 7 line to Macob Fullen wider where I was hospitably 
entertained. After examining his forge on Friday morning 
started with him for his ore bank or rather for Fall's Lime 
kiln on Kings Creek where 'William Wilson has engaged to 
meet me Country Granite. Did not find Wilson, examined 
the ore bank then started on foot for King's Mountain about 
5 or 6 miles below, towards this I travelled for 4 miles and 
understanding it was within the limits of S. Ca. returned. I 
however discovered a gold region along the Creek. Wilson 
not being come on my return to the ore bank, I started for his 
ho^e but he soon overtook me and told me gold had actually 
been found on this formation — He conducted me between 
King's and Crowder's Mountains along a very bad road to his 
house — we turned aside to see the sulphate of Barytes. He 
lives in a large brick house, four rooms to a floor. He is a 
plain man — said nothing of his return, but sent word to his wife 
by one of his sons that we should want some supper and nod- 
ded to her in a very kindly way when we descended into the 
underground room to our repast. Saturday morning, Mr. 

ILawson F. Henderson, who graduated at U N. C. in 1827. 

2Jacob Fullenwider was son of John F. who operated iron works at the 
High Shoals, has many descendants, among them Dr. J F. Miller, Snpt. of 
the State Hospital at Goldsboro. Judge R. H. Burton married his sister, 
hence he was great uncle of Gen. R. F. Hoke It was his furnace that 
gave point to the old preachers description of the infernal regions: "Take 
a sinner out of hell and put him into Jacob Fnllenwider's furnace, heated 
seven times, and lie will freeze solid in five minutes." 

3Wm. J. Wilsor. — Register of Deeds, a promiueut and useful man, Th* 
6ite of his home is in ( JaStOU Co, 



68 fames Spain/ Historical Monograph, 

Wilson accompanied me souk- miles. We rode near the line — }. 
sometimes in X. and sometimes S. Ca. 5 miles west of the \ 
Catawba according to Mr. Wilsons estimate, tell in with the 
gold country, and Wilson soon left me. Travelled up towards 
the Tuckasege Ford. Crossed the S. Fork at Armstrongs 
Ford, (lot tnv dinner at Capt. Caldwells. Took the Tuek- 
asege Ford t<> Lineolnton - ('ailed at Dr. Hunter's to see his 
miii's collection of minerals -a poor one he was a better bot- 
anist passed on to Peter Smith's a good natured old Duteli- 
man. and put up tor the night. 9 miles from Lineolnton. 
Left the gold country about 4 miles from the Tuckasegej 
Sundav started early rode t<> Mr. 'Williamson's and got break- 
fast, went on to Lineolnton and preached in the morning, rode 
in the evening as far as the cross. Went to hear Mr. Plum] 

'Tuckasege Ford is on the Great Catawba, about threw miles below 
Mount Holly The Tuekasege Manufacturing Co. has built a cotton mill 
there and the Ford is not much used It gets its name from the Cherokee 
Indian trail which led to it. The neighborhood joke that it received its 
name from Some saying"it tuck a siege to get aeross"is an after invention. 
The road from the ford to Lineolnton was along the old trail and hence is 
called the Tuekasege road Armstrong's Ford is on the South Fork of the 
Catawba about seven miles above its junction with the Great Catawba. 

-It is probable that the borne of Rev Humphrey Hunter, an active Rev- 
olutionary soldier mid divine is meant I do not find that he was aD.D.but 
his celebrity may have given him the title He died in August, 1837. As he 
married in \1'M) the son who made the collections, may well have been Dr. 
Cyrus L. Hunter, an enlightened man. author of Sketches of Western 
North Carolina. 

UPeter Smith lived oil the Tuckasege road about eleven miles from 
Lineolnton It was on his place that the Lmad leaved Umbrella tree, a 
\ariet\ of magnolia, rare in these parts, was found, mentioned by Dr. Cur- 
tis and other botanists Mr John B. Smith, grandson of Peter, has a 

gmve of them on his place. 

'Robert Williamson, whose place is now the Lithia Springs property, 
m ned by I ho u. F. Hoke 

•"'The cross is where ail old road from Tryoil old court house to Beattie s 
Ford crossed the Tuokasege road. Mr John B Smith lives there Thiait 
the site of the "Magnolia linnc above mentioned. 



Dr. Mitchell's Diary. o 

Men, 1 a dissenting Presbyterian Pteacher in the evening*. Mon- 
day morning went down to "Major Henderson's before break- 
last with the purpose of examining some clays Elective in 
bis neighborhood. Examined them, had a long- talk with him 
about the University, came hack and packed my minerals and 
started alter dinner lor Gen. Graham's but finally took a dif- 
ferent route, passed over [illegible] Mica Slate, by the quartz 
rock quarries from which they get hearths for their furnaces 
till we came to the state Road to one Sink's. It not being 
quite night when I got there I stripped off my coat and started 
back to get a glance at the ore bank distance 3 ro 4 miles — 
descended into one. Was overtaken by a thunder storm on 
my return and got completely lost in the woods — but eventu- 
ally made my way to Sinks very wet and tired after all the 
family were abed. Tuesday started along the state road for 
Maxwell Wilson's,' a poor country till within 3 or 4 miles 
of his house when the soil became red and much better. Got 
our breakfast at Wilson's and he rode with us 8 or ten miles in 
a northerly direction till we crossed Henrys River. Country 
lies well, soil good, Hornblende rock. Population mostly 
dutch. Got a good dinner at 4 Abel Shuffords, saw some spec- 
imens of Black lead from Burke with which he has been paint- 
ing his house. Started for "Carpenter's in Rutherford. Crossed 
Jacobs River' entered the state road again but soon turned off 

'The Associate Reformed Presbyteriaus refused to sing iu their services 
any hymns not translations of the Psalms in the Bible. They have a col- 
lege for males and females at Due West, South Carolina. 

2John Lawson Henderson. 

^Maxwell Wilson lived in what is now Catawba County, on the public 
road between Lincoln ton and Newton. 

4 Abel Shuford also lived in what is now Catawba County' was a good 
citizen, probly a brother of Martin Shuford. 

r, The Rutherford Carpenters moved from near Lincolnton. A descend- 
ant, Rev .1. B. Carpenter, called Ba'e Carpenter, is a Methodist minister, 
and was a Representative in the Legislature in 18(32. 

•\Tacob and Henry rivers are said to have been named after Jacob and 
Henry Whitener who lived on them 



70 






James Sprunt Historical Monograph. 



to the west. Wandered from our road and got completely 
lost in a tremendous thunderstorm. Craved to know of a man, 
whom I met, the name of the state and count}' I was in and 
which way was North. He put us into our road and after 
travelling- over an exceedingly sterile country, affording 
some indications of interesting minerals, arrived after dusk at 
Carpenter's two miles within the N. E. corner of Rutherford 
County. Carpenter knew of no mines in his neighborhood. 
Started with the intention of breakfasting at 'Martin Shuf- 
ford's from whom, he having been a member of the Legis- 
lature, we hoped to get valuable information but not finding 
him at home we passed on to one Morings, on the Main 
Lincolnton and Rutherford road. The journey to the latter 
place had little interest — the rock gneiss, and granite, we saw 
a collection of Rutherfordtotiians on Sandy River 14 miles 
from town who told us of Copperas rocks below — had rail and 
arrived a little before sundown, put up at Twitty's — nephew 
to the 'celebrated counterfeiter and formed an acquaintance 
with Mr. 3 Hall and Col. Burchette and Crayton. Thursday 
started for the "Whiteside settlement with Col. Burchette. It 
was said gold had been found there. Passed through a bro- 
ken but tolerably fertile country of Hornblend,rock and climbed 
over a ridge of mountains into a basin containing the sources 
of first Broad River which contains the Whiteside settlement. 
Look it out on the map. Adam Beatty found gold, 3 small 
particles by washing, 5 times, in the creek so that gold is cer- 
tainly there. Passed on to Peletsand got a miserable dinner- 
appetite not good. Mr. Mebane was taken quite unwell so 
that instead of passing down the Eastern side of the county I 
was obliged to set out with him on my return to Rutherford- 

iSonator 1825, 1826, '27. Succeeded by Martin P. Shuford. 

2Russell Twitty. 

BQoL Burchette was Clerk and Master in Equity. Weldnn Hall, a law- 
yer. Isaac Craton, loDgOlerk of Superior Court, father of Marshall Craton. 
the first Colonel of the 30th N. C, Regiment. 

*Now Golden Valley Township in north end of Rutherford Co. 






Dr. Mitchell's Diary. 71 

ton. Clambered out of the valley by a different route. Passed 
through a corner of Burke and had a glorious view of the 
mountains, put up for the night at a Mr. 'Pattens on Cane 
Creek 15 miles from town. Patten is a very grave looking 
fellow — has been a member and I believe an elder in Mr. 2 Kerr's 
church; his wife is the most masculine woman I ever 
saw — fit to command a regiment of grenadiers. Friday after 
breakfast returned to town — Called at the post office for a let- 
ter from my wife — which I had desired Mr. Reinhardt to for- 
ward from Lincolnton to this place but of course did not get it. 
Mr. Mebane appearing much better, started in the evening in 
company with Dr. Ossomy Irving for the S. Eastern part of 
the county — Passed down the Yorkville road, visited a Cop- 
peras rock on the land of Samuel Harvie on a small branch 

. It is a Mica slate rock with sulphate of Iron 

disseminated through it, Passed on with the intention of 
s'aying over-night at Mrs. 4 Hamilton's but hearing when near 
the house that the family were gone to the camp-meeting 
turned aside to Esqr Moore's and put up at Esquire Moore's — 
a good deal unwell — as indeed I had been for 24 hours. Sat- 
urday, started after breakfast and rode down to Mrs. Irvine's. 
Got fresh horses and rode over to see the copperas rocks where 
William Beatty used to live — Dined at Mrs. Irvine's on our 
return. She gave us a good dinner — is tolerably good look- 
ing -buxom woman. Started after dinner for the Camp Meet- 
ing. Crossed second Broad river at the high Shoal where 
there is a forge — where they get mill-stones and where I ob- 
tained specimens of red ore of this country. Passed, on and 
after riding till it was late in the rain, put up at Mr.Twitty's 

iFather-in-law of Col. M. C. Dickerson, long Clerk of the Superior 
Court and father of the present clerk, M. O. Dickersou. 

2"Kerr's Church" was called Little Brittaiu. He was a Presbyterian 
minister. 

SNo copperas rocks worked now in Rutherford. 

■*There are many Hamiltons in the county. 



7"> 



James Spinal Historical Monograph. 



tent on the 'Camping ground. Learned that Mr. Mebane had 
been more unwell after I left him. Sunday Morning - , were 
ordered out early by Mr. Moore who married Mr. Twittvs sis- 
ter and was with him, lest we should be excommunicated. It 
rained and there was preaching in the tents at the 4 corners 
of the camping grounds. Saw *Mr. Carson the late and 
would-be member of Congress for this district, and others. 
Was introduced to the ruling elder by Mr. Twitty and by the 
elder to the other preachers. In the evening took in Mrs. 
Bowen, Alex Twitty's niece, and her two children and return- 
ed to Rutherford. Found Mr. Mebane had been cpiite sick on 
Saturday morning but was now better though he still com- 
plained af a head ache. Monday. Mr. Mebane having eaten 
large quantities of green corn on Sunday passed a restless 
night and was taken with vomiting in the morning: called in 
the doctor— concluded I must submit to have my plans broken 
up. Rode out 3 miles with 'Ksquire Dickey and Dr. Torrey 
to see the 4 isin-glass hill in the neighborhood and on my re- 
turn called on Allen Twitty to learn the facts respecting a 
piece of gold said to have been found there. Tuesday. I rode 

out to examine a place on Tollivan 5 land, 15 miles 

return — God willing, tomorrow and start for Asheville on 
Thursday if Mr. Mebane's health will admit of it. If Mr. 
Mebane had not been taken sick I suppose I should have been 
at home by Saturday after the beginning of the session. Be- 
ing delayed now a little longer -say to Mr. Andrews that if 

iThe Twittys, as a rule, were, and are, very good people. The camp- 
meetings have been abandoned for many years, except Rock Spring, kept 
up the last year or two because the site was given on condition that they 
should be continued. 

•-'Samuel Price Carson, of Burke. Representative in Congress, 1886-1888, 
had the misfortune t<> kill Dr. Robert B, Vance in a duel; member of the 
Convention of ls:r>; removed to Texas in 18:i.~> and was Secretary of Stat.-; 
died in isio. 

BEsquire Dickey, a good citizen, lived eight miles from Rutherfordton. 
•«The isinglass (mica) hill is now worked profitably. 
"Illegible— looks like Creiss'. 



i 



Dr. Mitchell's Diary. 73 

Osl.orn' can come into the Sophomore class the feelings of 
people in the Upper country and the circumstances of the case 
are such as to render it very desirable he should do so. The 
cry is against the hardness of our conditions and this case 
will render it much louder. 

This little margin the rest of the letter being occupied with 
my travels I will devote to love and expressions of affections 
for my Maria and my sweet babies. That I should doat on 
them is a natural consequence of the relation of parent in 
which I stand to them — towards yourself I have never been 
lavish of soft words and epithets of endearment. Not as lav- 
ish as I should have been had I always loved you as I do now. 
When I shall next press you to my bosom will your heart be 
as full of tender and strong attachment as my own? 

Rutherfordton, Aug. 3, — Friday. 

Mr. Mebane has a settled fever which may last two or three 
weeks. The physician does not consider him in danger. When 
I shall be able to come home is altogether uncertain. Mention 
these things to the Moctor in excuse for my absence but with 
provision that it do not come abroad so that the Mebane fam- 
ily generally shall be distressed. I write to his father today. 
My own health is perfectly good. Mr. Osborne must stay 
with you until my return. 

I hope he enters college. Farewell my dearest, well beloved 
and only beloved wife. 

E. Mitchell. 



1 James Walker Osborue, was admitted, graduated with honor in 1830; 
was afterward State Representative and Senator; Member of Convention 
of 1861, and Superior Court Judge. 

2President Joseph Caldwell. 



ACKNOWLEDGEMENT. 

In addition to those on page <>. I am grateful for valuable 
information to Hon. M. H. Justice, of Rutherford ton, Col. 
Paul 15. Means, of Concord, and Professor Collier Cobb, of the 
University of North Carolina. 






ERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA. 



s unt Historical Monograph 

No. 7. 




Richardson Davie: A Memoir 

By 
J. G. de Roulhac Hamilton, Ph.D. 

llowed by His Letters with Notes 

By 
Kemp P. Battle, LL.D. 



3^V 



1907*